ISHR and Outright International celebrate the adoption by United Nations Third Committee Member States today of a resolution on elections and democratic processes that, for the second time, specifically includes sexual orientation and gender identity as prohibited grounds of discrimination in people’s right to participate in public affairs.
In presenting his report, Madrigal-Borloz explored the impact that colonialism has on pre-colonial communities. The report notes that colonialism disrupted pre-colonial communities that globally embraced sexual and gender diversity, particularly through non-binary entities that played advisory, spiritual and ceremonial roles. Colonialism under religious, secular and hybrid narratives and justifications imposed a binary and restrictive approach on these communities.
In maintaining their colonial regimes, including after gaining independence, States often criminalise gender and sexual diversity including through restrictive laws that, for instance, criminalise same sex consensual intimacy. One example raised in the report is the recently passed ‘Anti-Homosexuality Act’ that not only criminalises LGBT persons for existing, but also criminalises human rights defenders promoting and supporting LGBTQ communities.
‘The draft Ghanan “Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill” follows the oppressive principles of the Ugandan law,’ said ISHR’s Tess McEvoy. ‘We are concerned by what appears to be a trend of the consideration of analogous laws across the region – laws which directly impact the enjoyment of human rights by LGBTIQ+ communities and those who defend their rights, who will be left to face the disproportionate penalties included in these laws,’ McEvoy added.
In closing his final report presentation to the Third Committee, Madrigal-Borloz expressed his concern for the fact that LGBT people or people who are merely perceived as LGBT can be criminalised in 64 jurisdictions, and condemned to death in 11. He concluded with these words: ‘as long as you continue to deny your lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and diverse siblings the protection that they require, your legitimacy to speak of human rights, democracy, respect and dignity is unavoidably compromised’.
ISHR would like to express its sincere gratitude to the Independent Expert for the momentous achievements made as his time as mandate holder comes to an end. True to form and working to the very last moment, Madrigal-Borloz published four final policy positions on his final day in the mandate:
- The need to eliminate discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex characteristics in sport
- A call on all UN Member States and other stakeholders to take measures to ensure that persons of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities can fully and freely participate in cultural life
- The concerning violence, stigma and discrimination that disproportionately impact the human rights of persons with disabilities who also are of diverse sexual orientation and gender identity
- The need to address violence and discrimination that impacts older persons who are part of the LGBT community.
Civil society welcomes the appointment of Graeme Reid as the third UN Independent Expert on sexual orientation and gender identity and celebrates the achievements of Victor Madrigal-Borloz in the role.
The Guatemalan government rejects 40% of recommendations at crucial UN human rights review. Amidst a delicate electoral context, NGOs urge the government to cooperate in good faith with UN bodies and implement key recommendations to address attacks against human rights defenders, justice officials, and discrimination against Indigenous Peoples, women, and LGBTIQ+ persons.