Ahead of this crucial vote at the Human Rights Council, we asked human rights defenders worldwide why they think it is important that the United Nations has a mandate dedicated to the protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Here's what they told us.
Subtitles available in English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese (more languages available soon).
Scroll down to read a transcription of this video.
The establishment of the mandate was one of the hallmarks of our movement for equality for LGBTQ+ people around the world. It sends a message that, at a global level, there is consensus that LGBTQ+ rights are human rights and that, coming together as a global community to resolve the issues of violence and discrimination that our community faces is one of the priorities of of the international community.
So many people around the world are being discriminated because of their sexual orientation and gender identity. That’s the reason why we continue to push that this mandate continues.
From the very start the push for a mandate, for us, was necessary. One: To increase visibility. Two: to ensure that our voices are heard at that level. So, a renewal of this mandate at this time, more than ever when we are seeing rollbacks in many policies, is much needed and much necessary.
I think what this mandate does is uniquely elevate the voices that are not being heard and often being crowded out by those making so much more noise.
The mandate represents two things for the global LGBTI population: firstly, for sure, is the visibility that we have at the UN level to be able to interact about our needs, but as well to have a mechanism that answers to people in a direct manner, and that can interact with other mechanisms within the United Nations to answer to very specific issues. Which brings me to the second item of why it is important: the capacity of intersectionality that the mandate holds.
The creation of a mandate like the IESOGI’s mandate is important in enabling us to forge solidarity within and beyond our communities, so that we can build broader intersectional movements towards justice and equality.
There is a clear point of contact you can turn to when it comes whom to work with at the UN.
To have a mandate, which has the support of governments behind it, saying “This matters”, is so crucial and it must continue. Sadly, there are those out there who would want to take that away, and so the fight must continue to hold on to this mandate.
The renewal of the mandate of the Independent Expert is a crucial process for the human rights movement, and especially for the LGBTI+ movement, because it has been clearly demonstrated that the experience of these years has allowed on one hand to strengthen political advocacy in each of our countries, and from the other hand it has also strengthened the international human rights system.
After his country visit, we received so many contacts from our government who became more open to cooperate with us. So, I think, it’s very crucial to push for this mandate to be there for the next years.
I believe that this work has to continue, and to seek that this work has a relevance within the United Nations system especially when it comes to data and information gathering on LGBT persons’ experiences.
I think the mandate on SOGI is very important because it creates a reference, externally and internally, for everyone that’s working on SOGI-related topics.
I think it is really important for the UN to have a perspective. Not only a perspective, but to have clear guidelines and an action plan around violence. Violence extends to the workplace; it extends to communities. We don’t have a true community perspective unless we’re learning about the impacts of violence and what are the ways that we going to work together to address them.
We are not free and we are not equal! I said many times: this is where humanity is and this is where we are. And we're not asking for anything new, all we want is to elevate our humanity, so it is the same with everyone else. And it is absolutely crucial that the United Nations continue this work. They MUST continue the work of the mandate of the Independent Expert on SOGI!