Available translations: English العربيّة
News : Article

Council extends mandate of Independent Expert

Graphic: UN Independent Expert Victor Madrigal-Borloz

The UN Human Rights Council has adopted a resolution to renew the mandate of the Independent Expert on sexual orientation and gender identity.

UN special procedures LogoUN special procedures

In a landmark vote, the UN Human Rights Council has adopted a resolution to renew the mandate of the Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity

The resolution was adopted by a vote of 27 States in favour of the resolution, with 12 States voting against it and seven abstentions.

The mandate of the Independent Expert was established in 2016, with the voluntary position initially being held by Professor Vitit Muntarbhorn of Thailand. In 2018, the position was taken over by Costa-Rican jurist Victor Madrigal-Borloz.

The resolution to renew the three-year mandate of the Independent Expert was presented by group of seven Latin American countries: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Uruguay.

Following the vote, Mr Madrigal-Borloz, posted a message of thanks on Facebook:

"Heartfelt congratulations to the committed Member States, NHRIs and 1300+ civil society organisations for their extraordinary achievement – the renewal of the #IESOGI mandate at #HRC41. I am as humbled and determined as the first day to continue at your side in this, the journey of a lifetime."


Graphic: Rainbow flag outside building


"We are extremely encouraged that the Human Rights Council has demonstrated its commitment to the uphold the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to live free from violence and discrimination," APF secretariat Director Kieren Fitzpatrick said.

"National human rights institutions in the Asia Pacific region look forward to supporting the Independent Expert in his important work," he said.

In the lead-up to vote, 11 NHRIs from the region presented a joint statement to the Human Rights Council to express their support for the ongoing work of the UN Independent Expert

"The establishment of the Independent Expert has been invaluable in the promotion of LGBT people's rights to be free from violence and discrimination, and more specifically in our region, the Asia Pacific," the statement said.

"We strongly encourage the Council to continue the mandate of the Independent Expert, building on its important work and furthering protections against violence and discrimination for all."

The joint statement was made by the 'A status' NHRIs of Australia, India, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, New Zealand, the Philippines, Samoa and Timor-Leste. It was supported by the NHRIs of Fiji and Tuvalu.

Date: 15 July 2019


In April 2017, an APF-UNDP workshop brought together more than 100 experts from NHRIs, LGBTI civil society organisations, research bodies and UN and development partners from over 25 countries and territories.

The Independent Expert on sexual orientation and gender identity - the post then held by Prof Vitit Muntarbhorn - was a key contributor to the discussions.


Image credits

  1. UN Independent Expert Victor Madrigal-Borloz - UN photo
  2. Rainbow flag outside building - Daniel James on Unsplash