ICJ and other NGOs express concern at UN at global backlash against the human rights of women and LGBTQI people (UN Statement)

The ICJ joined civil society organisations in a statement to the UN Human Rights Council to express deep concern about at a global backlash against LGBTIQI during the interactive dialogue with the Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The joint statement reads as follows:

“This is a joint statement.

This June marks 10 years since the first resolution on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. We welcome the Expert’s work and his essential role connecting the lived realities of LGBT people and communities and defenders with the UN.

We also welcome this report and the analysis of gender grounded on international human rights law it provides.

We support the Expert’s intersectional approach, as well the sustained focus on identifiying root causes of violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. We highlight with concern the Expert’s acknowledgement that ‘trans and gender-diverse persons suffer an unacceptable state of extrajudicial executions, forced disappearance, torture and ill-treatment, as well as systematic exclusion from education, employment, housing and health care’.

In the context of the growing anti-human rights movement, we witness a global backlash against the human rights of women and LGBTQI people, as well as an increase in criminalization and persecution of defenders in the context of governments’ purported responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have seen increased targeting, harassment, attacks and detention specifically of trans and gender-diverse human rights defenders who are targeted because of the work they do and because of who they are.

With respect to promoting and protecting human rights, the Expert clearly highlights the critical role of national, regional and international civil society; while noting that civil society spaces are actively being shrunk. We echo the Expert’s call on States to ‘uphold an enabling environment for civil society working for the human rights of trans, non-binary and gender-non conforming persons, and to respect and protect their rights to freedom of assembly and association’.

The voices of LGBTQI human rights defenders must be heard in order to keep governments accountable for human rights violations, and to continue to demand that the UN system fulfill its human rights mandate.

In this vein, we deplore the systemic underfunding of the UN human rights system and the drive for so-called efficiency, including the cancellation of general debates in June. General debates are a vital part of the agenda by which NGOs can address the Council without restrictions. We call for the reinstatement of general debates at all sessions, with the option of civil society participation through video statements.

Finally, we welcome the Expert’s recognition of the Yogyakarta Principles and the Yogyakarta Principles plus 10, as authoritative articulations of existing international human rights law in relation to issues of sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as their broad application in international, regional and national fora.

Thank you”



Amnesty International;

Article 19;

CHOICE for youth and sexuality;

International Commission of Jurists;

Outright Action International;

Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex Rights (RFSL)

Accountability International;

Association Humanity First Cameroon;

Campaign Against Homophobia, Poland;

International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights;

ERA – LGBTI Equal Rights Association for Western Balkans and Turkey;

Edge Effect; GATE, Trans, Gender Diverse and Intersex Advocacy in Action;

Human Rights Defenders Network-SL;

Intersex Asia Network;

Lesbian and Gay Federation, Germany;


Planet Ally;

Organization Intersex International – Chinese;

The Norwegian Organization for Sexual and Gender Diversity;

Synergia – initiatives for human rights;

Young Queer Alliance.

AdvocacyNon-legal submissions