On June 6, Youth Coalition member Kamanda Bosco (Uganda) delivered a joint NGO statement at the 35th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland on behalf International Service for Human Rights, ILGA, COC Netherlands, and ARC international, among others. This joint statement followed the first report by the independent expert on sexual orientation and gender identity issues, whose mandate was approved last year by the General Assembly.
This is a joint statement.
We welcome the Independent Expert views condemning violence and discrimination against LGBTI rights defenders.
We acknowledge the joint NGO written statement highlighting risks faced by these defenders and making essential recommendations for their protection.
Not only have LGBTI defenders been identified as some of the most at risk; the challenges they face are escalating.
Laws unduly restricting NGOs’ activities are increasing. LGBTI rights organisations are refused registration, in China, Uganda, Lebanon and Morocco. Access to resources is hindered, as well as rights to freedom of association, assembly and expression.
These restrictions should be examined within the wider context of multiple and aggravated forms of discrimination. They occur within a prevailing culture of stigma around SOGI issues, where LGBTI rights defenders are targeted for the work they do, and for who they are.
Recently a journalist reporting on torture and detention of men suspected of homosexuality in Chechnya was targeted. While Honduran LGBTI defender and trans woman Sherlyn Montoya was tortured and murdered.
We encourage the Independent Expert to work with defenders to ensure States:
- Support and protect LGBTI rights defenders against violence and discrimination and ensure they enjoy access to human rights mechanisms without fear of reprisals.
- Remove barriers for registration and accreditation of organisations promoting and protecting LGBTI persons’ rights.
- Take legislative and administrative measures to ensure a favourable environment for activities for the promotion, protection and realisation of human rights, relevant to sexual orientation and gender identity.
- Review and repeal laws and policies that criminalise, stigmatise or discriminate against LGBTI rights defenders.
- Ensure organisations working on LBGTI issues can seek, receive and use funding from various stakeholders.
We end by asking the Independent Expert how he intends to work with other mandate holders to strengthen the UN’s response to ensuring protection for LGBTI rights defenders.