LGBTIQ rights

LGBTIQ rights

Despite being one of the most vulnerable groups of defenders, LGBTIQ rights defenders continue to work toward enhanced respect, dignity, equality and a world free from violence and discrimination for their communities, for everyone!

Millions of people around the world face human rights violations because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and sex characteristics (SOGIESC). These violations are often ignored or given insufficient attention by governments, especially when they are committed by government authorities themselves.  Violence and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) persons and their organisations remain widespread, as does the criminalisation of advocacy for LGBTIQ rights.  

In this context, the ability of LGBTIQ rights defenders to engage with the UN and use its mechanisms to put pressure on States to make positive change is even more important. Yet it is only in the past several years that SOGIESC issues have made it onto the UN agenda. In 2004, a resolution on sexual orientation was withdrawn because it was so contentious. Fifteen years later, the UN Human Rights Council voted to renew the mandate of its independent expert dedicated to combating violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI), first established in 2016.

ISHR has played a significant role in supporting progress on the rights of LGBTI persons and communities at the UN,  assisting LGBTI communities and activists to participate in and have their voices heard. 

Yogyakarta Principles 

Building on our leading role in developing the Yogyakarta Principles on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and the YP plus 10, and in contributing to the creation and renewal of a the first Independent Expert on violence and discrimination on the basis of SOGI, our work with LGBTI rights defenders strengthens international and regional protections against violence and discrimination.

ISHR supports LGBTIQ defenders 

ISHR stands with LGBTI rights defenders in their work, providing intensive training and advocacy support, lobbying to ensure that the role and protection needs of LGBTI rights defenders are reflected in international resolutions and standards, and working with LGBTI rights activists and groups to promote the effective implementation of these resolutions and standards on the ground. ISHR works within a global coalition of LGBTI rights organisations, as part of the LGBTQ movement. 

With enhanced communication and solidarity across the LGBTI global movement, as well as human rights movement more generally, the advocacy against violence and discrimination will not only continue but strengthen.

LGBTIQ Defenders' stories

Here at ISHR we are constantly being inspired by the brave people taking action to defend human rights and want to share some of their stories with you.

Daniella Solano Morales from Costa Rica

'To promote respect for sexual diversity is important. I really hope to promote social projects based on respect for LGBTI people,' says Daniella Solano Morales, consultant and promoter with MULABI Latin America Space for sexualities and human rights in Costa Rica.

In this video, Daniella reflects on the necessity of her work and on how using UN mechanisms can help improve its impact and bring about change on the ground.

Alicia Wallace from the Bahamas

"I remember to be hopeful, not because it feels good or because I am waiting for something to happen on its own, but because I believe in my own power and the magic we create when queer people, Black people, women come together to channel our rage, righteous and raw, into sustained action." We were privileged to hear human rights defender Alicia Wallace's powerful message and would like to share her story with you below.

Latest updates

Check out all the latest updates to this topic

Guatemala at critical juncture, urged to re-engage meaningfully with UN rights bodies

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.

Protection mechanism crucial to implementation of law on defenders in Niger

On 15 June 2022, the National Assembly of Niger passed a law on the rights and duties of human rights defenders. This makes Niger the fourth African country to adopt such a law. However, for the law to produce the desired effects, it must be widely known and understood by all stakeholders. The establishment of an independent and inclusive protection mechanism will ensure the full implementation of the law.

Urgent appeal on the NGO draft law in Angola

The adoption of the draft law approving the status of Non-Governmental Organisation in Angola by the National Assembly considerably limits in its provisions the enjoyment of fundamental freedoms and shrinks civic and democratic space. We are calling the Special Rapporteurs on the situation of human rights defenders to help address this situation.

Uganda must repeal harshest anti-LGBTQ law criminalising the defence of LGBTQ communities

Despite recent progress at the international level countering discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, Uganda’s anti-LGBTQ law, which includes life imprisonment and the death penalty for homosexuality, also targets civil society organisations and human rights defenders working to promote and protect the rights of LGBTQ persons. ISHR calls on the Ugandan government to repeal this law and immediately respect and comply with its human rights obligations!

LGBTIQ defenders' stories

"I remember to be hopeful... because I believe in my own power."

Join us

Don't miss out on our latest vital work in LGBTIQ rights.