Draft resolution proposes to revoke mandate of UN’s New LGBTI Rights Watchdog
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee sent a letter to Norway’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations today to express a deep concern for a scheduled 8 November vote in the General Assembly Third Committee which may revoke the mandate of the UN Independent Expert to monitor violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI). The letter was also sent to other Permanent Missions to the UN.
Update: – A close vote on November 21, 2016, by a United Nations General Assembly committee affirmed that the newly appointed UN expert to address violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) should continue his work. The decision is a victory for human rights of LGBTI persons.
A draft resolution introduced to the General Assembly by Sierra Leone on behalf of the Group of African States, questions the legal basis of the mandate, and proposes to indefinitely defer action on the SOGI resolution. The resolution will be considered during the General Assembly’s Third Committee consideration of the annual report of the Human Rights Council.
“When the Independent Expert mandate was created in June 2016, the UN Human Rights Council demonstrated real commitment to end the widespread human rights abuses carried out against some of the world’s most vulnerable groups” says Mina Skouen, NHC’s advisor on LGBTI. “We encourage the Norwegian mission to vote against the proposed resolution in order to uphold the important role of the UN in the fight for LGBTI rights.”
Revoking this mandate would not only be harmful to anti-violence and non-discrimination efforts in relation to LGBT persons, but would also undermine the core principle that LGBTI persons are human beings entitled to all human rights under international human rights law.
“It is well-documented that LGBTI-activists are often subject to brutal repression from state authorities and third parties. Many states still practice criminalization and even death penalty for same-sex acts. There is therefore strong need for support within the UN system to the human rights of LGBTI-persons as well as for activists raising their issues”, says Skouen.
We ask the Norwegian mission to take actions to:
– Reject any attempt at undermining the mandate of the SOGI Independent Expert;
– Uphold the integrity and independence of the Human Rights Council and its decisions;
– Encourage missions of other members of the United Nations to vote against the Sierra Leone proposal, and thereby demonstrate that human rights are universal and that the UN has an important role in strengthening protection of LGBTI person.