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Understanding of LGBT realities ‘non-existent’ in most countries – UN expert

More data should be collected to better understand the root causes of violence directed towards LGBT people in the world, says Victor Madrigal-Borloz, UN Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on SOGI.

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More data ought to be collected to better understand the root causes of violence directed towards LGBT people in the world. This is the call made by Victor Madrigal-Borloz, the UN Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, ahead of his presentation to the Human Rights Council.

Madrigal-Borloz noted that policymakers are taking decisions in the dark, left only with personal preconceptions and prejudices. Clear information about the realities as lived by most LGBT people are, at best, little understood, “incomplete and fragmented”, he said, adding that “in most countries, it is simply non-existent” and that “maintaining such a level of ignorance without seeking appropriate evidence is tantamount to criminal negligence.”

For Madrigal-Borloz: “States must adequately address this scourge through public policy, access to justice, law reform or administrative actions.”

There are numerous barriers still faced by LGBT people in various parts of the world, created by criminalization, pathologization, demonization and stigmatization.

Data collection efforts are already underway in some parts of the world and have supported assessments of the situation of LGBT persons in various areas of life, including their relative safety, well-being, health, education and employment. But “many other areas still lack data and remain unexplored, for example, the concerns of aging LGBT people and intersections with disability, racism and xenophobia.”

The rapporteur called on States to “design and implement comprehensive data collection procedures to assess the type, prevalence, trends and patters of violence and discrimination against LGBT persons. When doing so, States should always respect the overriding ‘do no harm’ principle and follow a human rights-based approach to prevent the misuse of collected data.”

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