Feature story

New United Nations independent expert for the human rights of LGBTI people

04 July 2016

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has established the position of independent expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. In a resolution, adopted on 1 July, the UNHRC created the first ever global human rights mechanism specifically dedicated to the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people.

“UNAIDS welcomes the establishment of this position. The independent expert will be critical for advancing the human rights and health of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people,” said Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director. “We look forward to working closely with the independent expert to end violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and to ensuring that no one is left behind in ending AIDS.”

In all regions of the world, acts of violence, discrimination and other forms of human rights violations are committed against LGBTI people. These violations have a far-reaching impact on society, including by contributing to increased vulnerability to HIV among LGBTI people and limiting their access to health and other social services. Compared with adults in the general population, gay men and other men who have sex with men are 24 times more likely to acquire HIV, and transgender people are 49 times more likely to be living with HIV.

The independent expert is mandated to address all violence and discrimination faced by people on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity. He or she will engage in dialogue and consult with states and other relevant stakeholders to address the root causes of violence and discrimination and will provide technical assistance and capacity-building in support of national efforts. In fulfilling the mandate, the independent expert will help shed light on the serious health challenges faced by LGBTI people.