Geneva, 4 December 2017 – ILGA is delighted that Costa-Rican jurist, Victor Madrigal-Borloz, was today appointed the new UN Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.

The appointment went through today at the United Nations Human Rights Council, after his nomination was proposed last week by the president of the 47 government member world body charged with overseeing human rights around the globe.

“While focusing his work on torture prevention and accountability, Mr. Madrigal-Borloz witnessed the multiple layers of violence and discrimination faced by LGBTI persons worldwide, maintaining an intersectional approach in his analysis that deeply matters to our communities,” commented Ruth Baldacchino and Helen Kennedy, co-secretaries general of ILGA. “The expertise that he has in navigating international human rights fora, always listening to the voices of civil society, is particularly fitting for the role that he will take on.”

Mr. Madrigal-Borloz currently serves as the Secretary-General of the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT), and spent many years in the Inter-American Court and Commission of Human Rights. While at the Organisation of American States, he led process of consultation and preparation of the Action Plan of the Commission’s work in relation to the rights of LGBTI persons.

“We celebrate the appointment of Victor Madrigal in this international space. It is a highly relevant moment in the rights of our community,” commented Luz Aranda and Darío Arias, co-secretaries general of ILGALAC. “We know his work and his career very well, because he is from our region. We believe he will do a great job, and that the voice of civil society will play an important role in his mandate.”

Mr. Madrigal-Borloz also served as Member of the UN Sub-Committee for the Prevention of Torture, where he was responsible for drafting the policy on LGBTI persons leading to the text that was eventually adopted. He is also one of the signatories to the recently adopted “Additional Principles and State Obligations of the Yogyakarta Principles Plus 10”, adopted in November 2017 in Geneva – a statement of the human rights of persons of ‘diverse sexual orientations and gender identities’.

Appointed for an initial but renewable three-year period, Mr. Madrigal-Borloz will be tasked with assessing the implementation of existing international human rights law on sexual orientation and gender identity, raising awareness of violence and discrimination suffered by rainbow communities, engaging in dialogue and cooperating with States to implement measures, and providing advice and technical assistance where needed.

His work will build on the efforts of Vitit Muntarbhorn, the Thai international law professor who was appointed as the first Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in September 2016. In his one year of holding the position before tendering his resignation for health reasons, Professor Muntarbhorn produced two initial reports, conducted a country visit to Argentina, engaged in consultations with governments, civil society and business, and responded to several specific human rights situations of concern.

While excited about the appointment, there is also disappointment and concern amongst groups regarding the lack of gender diversity amongst the candidates who applied for this position: only one woman out of 11 candidates, with no one Trans or gender non-binary persons. The President of the Human Rights Council pointed out the lack of women candidates in his public letter proposing Mr. Madrigal-Borloz.

(photo: Twitter / @victor_madrigal)