Tuesday, August 16, 2016

3 UN LGBT Expert Candidates Shortlisted: Who Are They?

Thanks to the good people at ILGA, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association and their office in Geneva where the UN Human Rights Council is located, I can share with you the latest update on creating the UN Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity Independent Expert.

My previous reporting on the UN SOGI IE is here, here and here.

The monitoring of and community engagement about getting this queer expert operational by ILGA are reminders of the valuable work they do generally, and as our advocates at the United Nations with Observer Status. This is their update:

Dear All

Things have moved very fast over the last week. As mentioned, the Consultative Group scored the various candidates to create an interview shortlist (none of the specificities of this is public). The candidates were interviewed last week and the Consultative Group has now issued its recommendation to the President of the Human Rights Council. The President himself has circulated this to Member States this morning.

The Consultative Group stated as follows: "There were 21 eligible candidates for this vacancy. Five of them were shortlisted and interviewed and the following three candidates were recommended as best qualified to fulfill the mandate, ranked in the order of preference below.

1. Mr. Vitit MUNTARBHORN (Thailand)
2. Mr. Victor MADRIGAL-BORLOZ (Costa Rica)
3. Mr. Michael KIRBY (Australia)"

The full report (which includes more on the process overall and their recommendations for other mandates to be filled at the 33rd session) is attached and can also be found here.

The speed with which this happened appears to be to have been to comply with a request by the President of the HRC to the Consultative Group in mid-July to ensure that the process complied with the dates proposed in the rules. Certainly this list issued very close indeed to the deadline.

Now that the CG report is out, the next steps are for the President to consult with the five Regional Groups, formally led by the following ambassadors:

Ms. Nozipho Joyce MXAKATO-DISEKO, South Africa
Mr. Zahid RASTAM, Malaysia
Mr. Vaqif SADIQOV, Azerbaijan
Mr. Giampaolo Carmelo RIZZO ALVARADO, Honduras
Mr. Keith M. HARPER, USA

Other groups such as the OIC and EU are also consulted, I believe. The President then should issue his own list two weeks before the HRC starts: i.e. by 30 August and if he does not follow the order proposed by the Consultative Group he must explain his reasons.

Finally, it appears that the Egyptian ambassador – a member of the Consultative Group – removed himself from the considerations on the SOGI IE mandate holder in a letter sent to the President of the HRC that is also attached (and available publicly on the HRC extranet: https://extranet.ohchr.org/sites/hrc).

Best wishes to all,
André André du Plessis
UN Programme and Advocacy Manager

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