Ahead of this crucial vote at the Human Rights Council, we asked human rights defenders worldwide how the existence of the mandate of the UN Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity has impacted their work and LGBTI communities on the ground. Here's what they told us.
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That mandate has impacted our work tremendously.
It helps inform the work to happen, then we see policy happening, we see resolutions happening, and that trickles down to a frontline worker level.
When we have those mandates, that is the tool to then do the work.
And so I think that, without them, we struggle to have voices present and we struggle to have representation.
For me it’s not just a one directional relationship, but, actually, the information goes both ways.
Because of that it strengthens the work that we’re able to do in terms of planning, of projects, of programs.
After his country visit, we received so many contacts from our government who became more open to cooperate with us. He contacted the government officials, the responsible bodies, and then they gave responses to the questions. Actually, this type of work is already very effective because they develop their understanding of the issues.
The fantastic reports, research and communications that have come out of this mandate, and in such important topics, have been useful for our advocacy work, within the UN and outside the UN, and the best thing about this whole mandate process has been the way the reports are prepared by taking inputs from grassroots activists, from organisations all over the world, how these processes have been so inclusive!
We’ve had a lot to report to the Independent Expert, and we always heard back from him. We really felt that he was following what was happening.
Having refugee issues on the agenda for the current mandate holder has been crucial.
It’s important to keep this mandate of the Independent Expert to curb, or to stop, these hate narratives that keep growing around sexual orientation, sex characteristics, gender identity... So, for me, the renewal of the mandate is essential because it is a tool that allows us to keep on fighting against fundamentalisms.
Many of us have produced many reports over the years, but that institution, the United Nations, through this mandate raises this information to the level of a standard in documentation on these issues, and those standards will be there forever. So, it’s very important to have such a mandate, to renew it, and to carry this information into the United Nations.