UN Human Rights Council : Panel discussion sexual orientation and Gender Identity

On Wednesday, 7th March 2012, the Human Rights Council in Geneva held the first-ever UN debate on violence and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. 

The panel discussion was sponsored by the delegation of South Africa and Brazil.  During the panel discussion top United Nations officials urged Member States to tackle violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation, adding that countries cannot continue to overlook such grave violations of human rights.

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Irina Karla Bacci : Vice-President, National Council for LGBT Persons, Brazil

Laurence Helfer : Co-Director, Center for International and Comparative Law, Duke University, USA

Hina Jilani : chair, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan; former Special Representative of the Secretary-General on human rights defenders

Hans Ytterberg : Chairperson of the Council of Europe Expert Committee on Discrimination on Grounds of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

The debate opened with video address from the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Message from the UN Secretary General : You Are Not Alone in Your Struggle to End Violence, Discrimination


The delegates from Pakistan (spoke on behalf of the OIC), Senegal (spoke on behalf of ‘almost all’ members of the African Group), Mauritania (spoke on half of the members of the Arab Group) and from the Russian Federation expressed their concerns about the implementation of ‘controversial concepts’ such as sexual orientation and gender identity in the international Human Rights legal system. The decision of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference  (OIC) not to participate in the debate, aside from the delegates from Pakistan, was criticised by most states.


Human Rights Council – Statement by United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay to the Panel on ending violence and discrimination against individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity at the Human Rights Council 19th Session

African Statement on Sexual Orientation and Gender identity report on the High Commissioner for Human Rights Report

International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) – Council holds first ever panel debate on sexual orientation and gender identity

Letter from the Coordinator of the OIC Group on Human Rights to the President of the Human Rights Council and to the Hight Commissioner for Human Rights




About Rene Mertens

René Mertens (33) hat Politik / Spanisch und Erziehungswissenschaften an der Freien-Universität / Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin und an der Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM) studiert. Sein Arbeitsschwerpunkt am CSDSO liegt im Bereich LGBTI, Vereinte Nationen und Menschenrechte. Neben diesen Arbeitsbereich beschäftigt er sich mit der Frage, wie die Yogyakarta-Prinzipien in die auswärtige Politik und Entwicklungszusammenarbeit integriert werden können um einen inklusive Politik zu ermöglichen. Kontakt: Rene.mertens@csdso.org
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