UN SOGI Independent Expert visits Belfast

I’ve been privileged to get to attend several events with UN IE SOGI at the UN this year. It was especially meaningful to attend the Belfast meeting organised by The Rainbow Project to consult with Victor about the state of LGBT rights in Belfast. The visit was part of a wider UK country consultation.


It’s rare to have a space like this that created by the meeting in April where organisations working across issues to support LGBTQ human rights have space to reflect on the most pressing issues on a local and regional level to then be reported out on the international level. The feminist care Victor’s team takes in how these meetings are hosted and facilitated is a model other international actors with power and privilege would do well to follow.

His statement on visiting the UK was released on 12 May, with a more in depth report to be released this month. Very directly he reports how stakeholders across the UK view the currently environment on LGBTQ rights as ‘toxic’. He writes: ‘In Belfast, however, the Northern Ireland Civil Service observed that no new policy development could occur at the moment without a functioning devolved government administration, amidst considerable budget pressures that have recently resulted in numerous cuts that could imperil social services for more marginalized groups, including LGBT persons. Even without an executive government in place for a third of the last 25 years, the civil service has been resilient in holding together social protection structures, yet the absence of an Executive has resulted in the failure to deliver on the ambitious LGBT human rights strategy that was drafted and committed to by the last functioning government administration, including based on significant public consultation outreach.’


Victor will complete his second and final term in this role as United Nations Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in October. There is currently an open call for the new mandate holder.

The past six months have proven to me just how important this role is at not only the international level, but as a means for bringing forward the grassroots and national voices working to support LGBTQ people everyday.

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