Coming Out at the United Nations

ILGA members, partners and States urge the Human Rights Council to act on the need to ensure that the UN pay systematic attention to the violence experienced based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Two years ago, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a groundbreaking Resolution on “Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity”. It mandated the High Commissioner to produce a report on “Discriminatory Laws and Practices and Acts of Violence against Individuals based on their Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity”.

Its presentation was the occasion of an historic discussion held during the 19th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva in February 2012.

Regional workshops organised in Spring 2013 in Brazil, Nepal and France with a culminating conference in Oslo co-hosted by Norway and South Africa were an acknowledgement of the commitment of a number of States on this issue.

Many had expected the process would be continued with a second resolution this June at the 23rd session of the Human Rights Council, but that was not to be the case. ILGA, together with ARC International, organised a side event on “Voices of human rights defenders from around the world on sexual orientation and gender identity”. Various States and human rights defenders that were involved in the regional workshops and conference gave inputs on the process so far.

On June 10, a series of States intervened in the frame of the General Debate under Item 8 (Follow-up to and implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action).

South Africa highlighted the complexity and sensitivity of the subject at the UN and reaffirmed the need to continue open, inclusive and constructive dialogue. It noted the landmark conference in Oslo and announced its commitment to convening an African regional workshop, so that Africa’s views could be heard, and also a high-level seminar in Geneva.

Norway on behalf of 33 States affirmed the conclusions of the conference in Oslo and expressed commitment to “working with all partners in keeping the issue of human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity on the agenda of the United Nations through an appropriate decision of the Human Rights Council”.

Additional statements were delivered by the USA, Argentina, Spain, Brazil, the Netherlands, France and a group of 29 national human rights institutions.

Despite some difference of opinion between States on the need to adopt immediate measures at the Human Rights Council, they remain united in their belief that it should continue its leadership role in mapping and identifying ways and means to highlight the human rights of LGBTI people. In the weeks running-up to the 24th session of the Human Rights Council in September, ILGA and others are looking to see what that will actually mean in terms of action at the United Nations.

Watch for yourself what States had to say 

Norway on behalf of 33 states (Chapter 4)

United States (Chapter 8)

Argentina (Chapter 9)

Spain (Chapter 11)

Brazil (Chapter 13)

South Africa (Chapter 17)

The Netherlands (Chapter 19)

France (Chapter 20)

Finally, Lucas Paoli Itaborahy delivered a statement on behalf of ILGA’s 1040 members including WEZESHA, also signed by a coalition of 18 NGOs. (Chapter 25)

Read the statement here:


Scroll to Top