Joint statement on LGBTI rights: More safeguards needed against violence and discrimination

35th session of the Human Rights Council
Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity
12 June, 2017

CIVICUS and 23 civil society groups from 12 countries were deprived from delivering this statement during the SOGI ID but given the high number of signatories, we feel compelled to deliver it. 

Across the world, we are witnessing debilitating restrictions and persecution of LGBTI civil society groups and human rights defenders.  As a movement, LGBTI advocates face compounded restrictions, as they often become the target of government crackdowns. 

Due to intersectionality there is increasing re-victimization of LGBTI children, young people, women, refugees, persons with disabilities and more. In Tunisia, a public defamation campaign against LGBTI groups was carried out in the media and LGBTI defenders have been attacked. In Pakistan, defenders working on transgender rights continue to be subject to attacks including shootings, rape in police stations and torture. In El Salvador, LGBTI activists are facing hate crimes and harassment and since 2015, seven members of the LGBTI organisation, Muñecas de Arcoiris in Honduras, have been murdered. In South Africa, despite a protective legal framework, LGBTIQ+ people and activists, and women in particular, continue to face extreme levels of violence and discrimination, including targeted rape. In Uganda, the civil society organisation, Sexual Minorities Uganda, is denied access to financial resources and legal registration. The introduction of so-called anti-propaganda laws and closures of civil society organisations in Europe and Central Asia have the effect that LGBTI minors cannot access necessary information on sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics. The restrictions and attacks worldwide against LGBTI groups and human rights defenders often happen with impunity for the perpetrators and complicity from police and law enforcement. 

To address these concerns, we urge all states to: 1) ensure an enabling environment for and promote the rights to freedom of assembly, association and expression of LGBTI civil society groups and human rights defenders of all ages and including children, 2) guarantee strong safeguards against reprisals faced by LGBTI groups and defenders and; 3) take all necessary measures to independently investigate all attacks, including killings, of LGBTI human rights defenders. 
We thank you,


1. ACCIONA A.C. (México)
2. ARESTA (South Africa)
3. Asociación Silueta X (Ecuador)
4. Blue Veins (Pakistan)
5. Child Rights Connect (International)
6. CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation (International)
7. Coalición LGBTI en la OEA (Latin America)
8. Congolese Civil Society (South Africa)
9. Corporación Caribe Afirmativo (Colombia)
10. EQUAL GROUND (Sri Lanka)
11. Federación ecuatoriana de organizaciones LGBTI (Ecuador)
12. Fundación Diversencia (Bolivia)
13. Latin American and the Caribbean Network for Democracy (Latin America and the Caribbean)
14. Lawyers for Human Rights (South Africa)
15. GALA (South Africa)
16. Gay and Lesbian Network (South Africa)
17. Mawjoudin (Tunisia)
18. Mulabi/ Espacio Latinoamericano de Sexualidades y Derechos (Costa Rica)
19. Red Latinoamericana GayLatino (Latin America and the Caribbean)
20. Same Love Toti (South Africa)
21. Sexual Minorities Uganda (Uganda)
22. TransAction (Pakistan)
23. Transparencia Electoral (Argentina)
24. Triangle Project (South Africa)