LGBTI Equal Rights Association for Western Balkans and Turkey
Thanks to the sustained efforts of civil society and supportive United Nations (UN) Member States, human rights violations based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, or sex characteristics (SOGIESC) have received increased attention at the international level in recent years. Since 2010, the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) has adopted three resolutions on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity. In 2016, HRC Resolution 32/2 on protection from violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity established the first ever UN mandate holder on sexual orientation and gender identity, titled the Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (IE SOGI).
The HRC is a subsidiary body to the UN General Assembly (UNGA). As such, the resolutions adopted by the HRC over the course of a calendar year are compiled into one document, known as the Report of the Human Rights Council, for consideration by the UNGA. The decisions of the HRC are confirmed at the UNGA Session through the adoption of resolutions recognizing the Human Rights Council report and resolutions to approve associated financial resource implications. The UNGA routinely adopts the Report on the Human Rights Council without much controversy. However, during the 71st Session of the UNGA in an extraordinary move, the African Group used the Report on the HRC to challenge the appointment of the IE SOGI mandate.
The following report, prepared by OutRight Action International (OutRight), International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) and ARC International, provides an account of the successful defense of the IE SOGI mandate at the UNGA over the course of the 71st Session from October to December 2016. The process of defending the establishment of the IE SOGI by the HRC at the UNGA ultimately resulted in six separate votes on resolutions and resolution amendments, across two main General Assembly Committees and UNGA Plenary sessions.
The aim of this report is to offer insight into the dynamics of debates on SOGIESC and human rights at the UNGA by providing an analysis of the voting records of UN Member States, transcripts of the debates that surrounded each vote and a snapshot of the pivotal role of civil society advocacy throughout the process.