In June this year, the UN Human Rights Council made history by creating the first-ever UN Independent Expert to address violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
ILGA led a campaign for this position to be established. Renowned international human rights expert Vitit Muntarbhorn from Thailand was also appointed by the Human Rights Council and took up the position on 1 November, already starting work on this important mandate.
Now, a group of States at the UN General Assembly in New York is seeking to turn back the clock, and has tabled a draft resolution to defer action on the Human Rights Council resolution establishing the expert position - indefinitely.
A vote is likely to happen very soon, and we urgently need your help!
What’s going on?
Each year, the General Assembly’s Third Committee considers the annual report of the Human Rights Council. This year, that report includes the Council resolution creating the SOGI mandate. The African Group has just tabled a hostile resolution, questioning the legal basis of the mandate and seeking to indefinitely defer action on the SOGI resolution.
This would not only be very harmful to anti-violence and non-discrimination efforts in relation to LGBT persons, but would also undermine the core principle that LGBT persons are human beings entitled to all human rights under international human rights law.
Such a move would also be destructive to the institutional integrity of the Human Rights Council, and its relationship with the UN’s Third Committee, and undermine faith in the human rights system.
What can I do?
The African Group’s proposed resolution will be voted very soon in New York.
IMPORTANT: All 193 member States of the UN can vote in this vote and with such strong opposition every vote counts!! Remember that in the General Assembly each vote has equal weight: a vote by Liechtenstein or Lesotho has the same weight as one by Russia or the US.
Please act now to contact your government’s Foreign Ministry in your capital and also your Ambassador in New York and urge them to:
- reject any attempt at undermining the mandate of the SOGI Independent Expert;
- resist the language in the resolution questioning the mandate and deferring consideration of the Council resolution;
- uphold the integrity and independence of the Human Rights Council and its decisions.
How do I contact my government?
Contact details for the Foreign Ministry of your country can be found at http://www.ediplomat.com/dc/foreign_ministries.htm
A list of the New York Mission of your government is available at http://www.un.org/en/member-states/index.html
Here you can find a Backgrounder with further details which you can share with permanent missions, government representatives and civil society friends.
Please forward this Action Alert to others, and thank you for helping make a difference at this crucial time!