UN takes further steps against anti-LGBTQ+ violence and discrimination

The Human Rights Council called on member states to repeal discriminatory laws and policies, and work to prevent violence against LGBTQ+ people.

UN Human Rights Council who discussed LGBTQ+ discrimination.
Image: Twitter: @UN_HRC

The United Nations (UN) is stepping up its efforts to tackle anti-LGBTQ+ violence and discrimination within its member states.

On Thursday, July 7, the UN Human Rights Council adopted four resolutions, resulting in the renewal of the mandate of the independent expert on protection from violence and discrimination related to sexual orientation and gender identity for three more years. The resolution was adopted by a vote with 23 in favour, 17 against, and 7 abstaining.

The mandate for the independent expert, currently Victor Madrigal-Borloz, was originally approved in 2016, and renewed in 2019. The person reports annually on the implementation of the mandate to the council and the UN General Assembly, who have with this renewal asked that member states repeal anti-LGBTQ+ discriminatory laws and policies, and take effective preventative measures against violence and discrimination.

Speaking on the mandate renewal, Madrigal-Borloz who is a Costa Rican judge and senior visiting researcher at Harvard Law School’s Human Rights Program, said that he was “delighted”, and as “humbled & honoured as the first day to continue serving persons, communities and peoples affected from discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”

According to a statement from ILGA World, the move marks “the first time that the Human Rights Council adopted a resolution explicitly condemning legislation that criminalizes consensual same-sex conducts and diverse gender identities and called on states to amend discriminatory legislation and combat violence on the grounds on [sexual orientation and gender identity].”

A spokesperson for the queer organisation added: “Once again, the main UN human rights body made it clear: violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity must be prevented.”

The Council also adopted resolutions on the importance of casualty recording for the promotion and protection of human rights; human rights and the regulation of civilian acquisition, possession and use of firearms; and access to medicines, vaccines and other health products in the context of the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.

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