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UNGA77: Mandate of the Independent Expert on SOGI renewed for a second time, unchallenged

The Third Committee of the UN General Assembly adopted the resolution presenting the Annual Report of the Human Rights Council today without a challenge to the renewal of the mandate of the Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination on the basis of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (IE SOGI) for a second time.

In 2016 when the mandate of the IE SOGI was initially created at the UN Human Rights Council, an amendment challenging that creation, which was successfully defeated, was then tabled at the Third Committee later that year. As it was in 2019, in July this year, the mandate of the IE SOGI was renewed for a second time by a broad interregional group of States and the mandate was once again not challenged in the Third Committee. We welcome this development and acknowledge the tireless hard work and determination that continues to be made in support of the mandate of the IE SOGI by States and civil society globally.    

1,256 non-governmental organisations from 149 States and territories in all regions supported a campaign to renew the mandate for the second time, and a  coalition of organisations from across the world were involved in the campaign to renew the mandate. Civil society globally continues to strongly support the IE SOGI’s mandate, and will remain vigilant to any attempts to undermine its crucial work.  

Since its creation in 2016, this UN mandate has raised awareness worldwide about the impact of violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, including the criminalisation of same-sex relations and the lack of affirming legal gender recognition procedures. The mandate has underscored the damage caused by so-called ‘conversion therapies’, while also highlighting examples of good practices to prevent discrimination and affirming the importance of data-collection specific to the experiences of LGBT and gender-diverse people.

‘The Human Rights Council’s decision to renew this mandate for a second time sent a clear message that violence and discrimination against people of diverse sexual orientations and/or gender identities cannot be tolerated, and we celebrate the lack of challenge today as another significant step in the fight against violence and discrimination’ said ISHR’s Tess McEvoy. 

‘Civil society looks forward to the future activities of the Independent Expert. Victor Madrigal-Borloz is set to address some of the structural causes of violence and discrimination and to focus on highlighting the intersections of the mandate’s work with other big issues of our time’, said Outright’s Luíza Veado. ‘We encourage all governments and stakeholders to cooperate fully with the UN Independent Expert on SOGI and contribute to bringing about a world free from violence and discrimination for all people’, added Veado.

The continuation of this mandate is critical. It reaffirms that specific, sustained and systematic attention continues to be crucial to address human rights violations and ensure that all LGBT and gender-diverse people are free and equal in dignity and rights.

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