United Nations Urged to Uphold Position on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

Washington, D.C.—Human Rights First today urged the United Nations to uphold the mandate of the newly created position of Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI). The U.N. General Assembly will vote tomorrow on an unprecedented resolution to remove the mandate of the newly appointed independent expert, Vitit Muntarbhorn of Thailand, who was appointed after the position was created earlier this year. The proposed resolution cites as the basis for the proposal the need for time to determine the legal basis for the position.

“The effort to end the mandate is extremely troubling, and would reinforce the dangerous viewpoint that LGBT people should not be afforded the same human rights protections as other people,” said Human Rights First’s Shawn Gaylord. “LGBT people living in hotspots of homophobia need this position to counter growing threats to their safety.”

At an event hosted by Human Rights First, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, and American University, National Security Advisor Susan Rice, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, highlighted the need to act in defense of LGBT people globally. In Kyrgyzstan, LGBT people face a pending propaganda law modeled after Russia’s notorious 2013 law. In El Salvador, transgender people and other members of the LGBT community face high rates of bias-motivated violence with impunity.

Human Rights First notes that in the United States the creation of the Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons has allowed for important dialogue on these issues and helped elevate the concerns of LGBT communities around the world. In addition, eliminating the United Nations expert mirrors concerning global trends harmful to the independence of human rights mechanisms, including the U.N. Human Rights Council.

Human Rights First continues to work to combat homophobia around the globe. By amplifying the voices of LGBT human rights defenders, the United States can form better policy to drive effective change in environments hostile to LGBT communities.


Published on November 7, 2016


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