LGBTIQ groups around the world have welcomed the appointment of Victor Madrigal-Borloz as the new United Nations Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGIE).
Madrigal-Borloz was appointed to the role this week after the inaugural UN Independent Expert on SOGIE, Vitit Muntarbhorn, stepped down from the role in October due to health reasons.
The Costa Rican-born Madrigal-Borloz has extensive experience in human rights advocacy. He is the current Secretary-General of the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT).
Madrigal-Borloz also spent many years in the Inter-American Court and Commission of Human Rights. While there, he led the Action Plan of the Commission’s work in relation to the rights of LGBTI persons.
Now based in Copenhagen, Denmark he also was a Member of the UN Sub-Committee for the Prevention of Torture. There he was responsible for drafting the policy on LGBTI persons leading to the text that was eventually adopted.
Madrigal-Borloz is also one of the signatories to the recently adopted ‘Additional Principles and State Obligations of the Yogyakarta Principles Plus 10’. The Yogyakarta Principles is a statement of the human rights of persons of ‘diverse sexual orientations and gender identities’.
He was nominated by the UN’s Human Rights Council to the role last week. Madrigal-Borloz will serve a three year renewable term starting from 1 January, 2018.
LGBTIQ advocacy groups around the world were quick to welcome Madrigal-Borloz to the role.
‘We celebrate the appointment of Victor Madrigal in this international space. It is a highly relevant moment in the rights of our community,’ said Luz Aranda and Darío Arias, co-secretaries general of ILGALAC (International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association for Latin America and the Caribbean).
‘We know his work and his career very well, because he is from our region. We believe he will do a great job, and that the voice of civil society will play an important role in his mandate.’
Jessica Stern the executive director of OutRight Action International said the role was very important.
‘Madrigal-Borloz brings with him extensive experience working to protect the most marginalized communities, which will lend well to his success as the new Independent Expert,’ Stern said.
‘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.’
No gender diversity
Both the HRC and LGBTIQ groups pointed tout he lack of gender diversity in the nominees for the role.
‘While excited about the appointment, there is also disappointment and concern amongst groups regarding the lack of gender diversity amongst the candidates who applied for this position: only one woman out of 11 candidates, with no one Trans or gender non-binary persons,’ said ILGA (International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association) in a statement.