LGBT Teleconference Opens Door for New UNA Affinity Group

April 18, 2014| by Ryan Kaminski, Leo Nevas Human Rights Fellow

Marking the 2014 Day of Silence across the U.S., UNA-USA held a nationwide conference call on the global effort for LGBT rights. The two speakers, Marianne Mollmann, Program Director with the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, and Heather Collister, Program Manager with the International Service for Human Rights, joined the call to provide an expert-level landscape of LGBT rights at the UN and around the world. 

Launching the teleconference, UNA-USA Executive Director Chris Whatley framed the issue as “one of the most important human rights topics of a generation.”  Mollman provided an expansive summary of the LGBT human rights situation around the globe, including challenges stretching from Uganda to Russia. Collister continued the dialogue, offering comments on efforts to advance LGBT rights at the UN Human Rights Council and through the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The experts confirmed the significance of the United Nations’ first ever resolution on sexual orientation and gender discrimination, along with prospects for a follow-up resolution at the Human Rights Council in June or September of 2014. Both also discussed the potential for a new UN mechanism to assist and report on efforts to advance LGBT human rights among UN member states.

At the conclusion of the call, participants were encouraged to say engaged with the issue of LGBT rights and to make sure their representatives—especially in Washington—are aware of this priority. Whatley also highlighted UNA-USA initiatives to advance LBGT human rights, including a recent chapter Universal Periodic Review consultation and a potential LGBT-focused UNA affinity group.

UNA-USA members interested in joining a new LGBT affinity group should email or Ryan Kaminski with any questions.