The Council’s 41st session starts in Geneva today and will run through 12 July. During this session, Iceland will support the continuation of the mandate of the Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, which was established through a vote by the Council in 2016.
„Through our contribution to UN Free & Equal and by supporting and defending the mandate of the Independent Expert, Iceland wishes to underline its support for LGBTI+ rights and to contribute to a campaign aiming at changing attitudes. Human rights are universal and we must make sure that everyone can enjoy their rights and freedom, irrespective of their sexual orientation. We are all entitled to the same human rights,“ said Minister Thórdarson.
Iceland was elected on 13 July 2018 to serve as a member of the Human Rights Council until the end of 2019, filling the seat vacated by the United States. LGBTI+ rights are a priority in Iceland’s membership of the Council, which is reflected in Iceland’s active advocacy and support for LGBTI+ initiatives. During the 33rd session of the Universal Periodic Review in May, Iceland provided more recommendations concerning LGBTI+ rights than any other UN Member State to name one example.
The contribution to the UN Free & Equal initiative, operated by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), is also in accordance with Iceland’s development cooperation strategy for 2019-2023, incorporating a human rights-based approach to Iceland’s international development cooperation.
Iceland is a strong supporter of LGBTI+ rights internationally, while also making progress at home. Last week, a new legislation on gender self-identification was passed in the Icelandic Parliament, granting individuals over the age of fifteen the right to register their self-identified gender.
This milestone legislation puts Iceland among the most progressive states when it comes to the status of LGBTI+ human rights. In addition to ensuring the rights to gender self-identification, without specific requirements such as medical diagnosis or medical intervention, the legislation is also intended to protect the right to bodily integrity. Subsequently, a working group on the rights of intersex children will be established.