LGBT rights | How the #RenewIESOGI campaign was won

Everyone should be safe from violence and discrimination. In July 2019, our communities won a historic victory with the successful renewal of the mandate of the Independent Expert on violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity: a new report by ARC International, ILGA World and ISHR explains how the process played out.

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In July 2019, States voted to renew the mandate of the United Nations Independent Expert focusing on the protection against violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) for a further three years.

It was a historic victory for LGBT communities, and for human rights for all: following the call from a record number of 1,312 organisations from 174 States and territories, the UN Human Rights Council reaffirmed its commitment to combatting discrimination and violence, and reminded all States of taking action to ensure all people are safe.

ARC International, ILGA World and ISHR have compiled a report setting out the key statements, documents and outcomes of the adoption of the Resolution  41/18 that renewed the mandate of the Independent Expert that was created in 2016. The three organisations want to acknowledge the work of Gabriel Galil who transcribed the entire proceedings. 

Reading these pages will allow you to follow the steps in the process that led the Human Rights Council to #RenewIESOGI. Human rights defenders around the world advocated for the adoption of the resolution introduced by Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico and Uruguay. During the process, we witnessed States across the globe coming together to reject ten hostile amendments introduced by members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), except for Albania and Tunisia. All ten amendments were voted down and rejected, one by one.

In the end, 27 States voted in favour of the renewal of the mandate with 52 States from every region of the world co-sponsoring the resolution; 12 voted in opposition, and 7 abstained. These record-high numbers signal a shift: it is reassuring to witness that the international community is becoming both more aware and less tolerant of violence and discrimination on the basis of SOGI! 

The analysis of the vote – summarised in this report – discusses the changes seen in the positions of regional groups towards the resolution, and  captures statements made by governments, which reveal their respective commitments to creating a safer world for people of diverse sexual orientation and gender identity. Overall, the positive and constructive tone of the debate showed significant progress from the situation in 2016. 

We hope that this report will be a useful tool for human rights defenders worldwide, and for all who want to know how States positioned themselves along the campaign to guarantee equal rights for all.

ARC International
ILGA World – International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association
ISHR – International Service for Human Rights


Photo: cedricgelissenphotography

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