Victor Madrigal-Borloz Appointed as New UN Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity

Today, Victor Madrigal-Borloz was appointed the new United Nations Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (IE SOGI). The Human Rights Council formally confirmed his position as the IE SOGI in a plenary.

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Victor Madrigal-Borloz follows Thai human rights expert Vitit Muntarbhorn in the position, as Professor Muntarbhorn stepped down earlier in the year for health reasons.

Jessica Stern comments on the importance of the mandate and says,

Madrigal-Borloz brings with him extensive experience working to protect the most marginalised communities, which will lend well to his success as the new Independent Expert. This position is about applying existing human rights law to LGBTI people and defending real lives. It is about holding governments to account for the egregious human rights violations committed against people based on their real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity. OutRight looks forward to continuing to engage with this mandate and to the momentum that Madrigal-Borloz will bring to this position.

Madrigal-Borloz is the second-ever person to assume this position, and was chosen out of an original list of 11 candidates, which was shortlisted to 3. Notably, and to the President of the HRC’s concern, only one of the 11 candidates were female.The SOGI Independent Expert position is a six year term which will be up for renewal in 2019.

Madrigal-Borloz is a Costa-Rican jurist residing in Copenhagen and and his expertise lies more broadly in torture prevention, accountability and rehabilitation. Having been a lawyer with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Madrigal-Borloz has partnered with civil society advocates to investigate allegations of State non-compliance and international human rights violations. He currently serves as the Secretary-General of the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT), an international non-profit organisation which advocates for holistic rehabilitation for all victims of torture.

Building on the precedent set by his predecessor, Madrigal-Borloz will be tasked with assessing the implementation of existing international human rights law, raising awareness of violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, engaging in dialogue and consultation with States and other stakeholders, and providing advisory services and technical assistance to help address violence and discrimination against LGBTI people.

This Independent Expert position was mandated by the passing of resolution A/HRC/RES/32/2 on June 30, 2016. A campaign of 628 nongovernmental organisations from 151 countries advocated for the adoption of the resolution and for the establishment of the SOGI Independent Expert position.

Madrigal-Borloz is expected start on January 1st, 2018.