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HRC35: Interactive Dialogue with the Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity
June 6, 2017

Interactive Dialogue with the Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation
& Gender Identity
U.S. Statement as delivered by Rob Waller
Human Rights Council 35th Session
June 6, 2017

Mr. President,

The United States extends its congratulations to Professor Muntarbhorn for his appointment as the first Independent Expert on Combatting Violence and Discrimination based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.  We welcome his first report, which clearly lays out the various areas of concern which his mandate will address and we thank Ms. Callamard for her presentation as well.

Professor, as the Independent Expert notes in his report, horrific levels of violence are inflicted upon people around the world because their sexual orientation or gender identity do not fit the expectations of some in their societies.  Many today will claim in this very chamber that their traditions oppose these very concepts, which is to make excuses to discriminate against people just for being themselves.  We should all be able to agree that every person deserves to live their life as their authentic self and to do so without fear of violence or discrimination.

We welcome the Independent Expert’s focus in key areas such as decriminalization of same sex conduct, anti-discrimination efforts, and recognition of gender identity.  We also welcome his approach to address issues in every part of the world, as evidenced by his recent country visit to Argentina, and we look forward to further engagement with him.

Prof. Muntarbhorn, can you tell us more about how you will engage to press for decriminalization of same sex conduct, which remains criminal in over 70 countries?

Thank you.