It has been a year since the International Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) was conceived by the United Nation Human Rights Council for the first time ever. The process did not come easy. The mandate of the position was challenged several times by a coalition of countries that did not want to defend the rights of their LGBT citizens. Yet, the victory prevailed on our side.
Prof. Vitit Muntarbhorn, the Expert appointed for the position, and his team has finally submitted its first annual report to the Human Rights Council. The report offers a window through which to gauge the approach and methodology of the Independent Expert. There are key reflections responding to the mandate, particularly regarding the panorama of the situation, including the implementation of international instruments, with identification of good practices and gaps; awareness of the violence and discrimination issue, and linkage with root causes; dialogue, consultation and cooperation with States and other stakeholders; the identification of multiple, intersecting and aggravated forms of violence and discrimination; and support for international cooperation and related services to assist national efforts.
The Report is written on the belief that while the diversity among human beings on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity should be recognized, it is essential to harness and reinforce, from a young age, mutual respect, tolerance and understanding, compliance with human rights, and a sense of humanity and inclusivity inherent in that diversity, to provide protection for all and to all.
The Independent Expert is now inviting relevant information from stakeholders so as to enable him to prepare the next report, which is due later in 2017 for the General Assembly, on the basis of information from a range of sources. Find out how you can provide the input by clicking here.