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47th Session of the Human Rights Council

Joint statement on Violence Against Transgender Women during the Interactive Dialogue with the Independent Expert by the Group of Friends of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) mandate, 28 June 2021

I'm honoured to deliver this statement on behalf of a Group of Friends of the SOGI mandate.

Around the world, transgender and other gender diverse persons, who identify with a different gender than the one they were assigned at birth, face extraordinary levels of violence and harassment. Stigma against transgender women in all their diversity is prevalent and many transgender women are at heightened risk of and exposure to violence, killings, and other human rights violations and abuses.

Studies show that there has been a steady increase in the global number of reported murders of trans and gender non-conforming persons, with at least 3,664 murders documented since 2008, of which 97% had transgender women1 as victims. These acts of violence are often not properly investigated and the perpetrators are not held accountable.

Persistent stigma, prejudice, and discrimination, as well as criminalization of diverse gender identities and expressions, contribute to the vulnerability of transgender persons and multiple and intersecting forms of marginalization.  Social and economic exclusion are also deeply related to the level of violence faced by transgender persons. This climate perpetuates impunity for acts of violence against transgender persons and restricts their access to justice2, which, in turn, provides tacit permission and encouragement for further abuses.

Transgender persons also often face barriers to their enjoyment of human rights, including the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, including sexual and reproductive health, the right to an adequate standard of living, including adequate housing, and the right to education, among others, as well as violations of bodily autonomy. These circumstances have been aggravated by the current COVID-19 pandemic.

We call upon member states, as a matter of urgency, to respect, to protect and to fulfil the human rights of transgender persons, especially transgender women given the population's historic marginalization, by investigating rights violations and abuses, ensuring accountability, implementing effective antidiscrimination legislation and policies, and providing victims with direct access to an effective remedy and support services.

We encourage governments to proactively work with transgender-led and competent organizations in raising awareness and enhancing understanding about the human rights of transgender persons.

1 Transgender Europe, Trans Murder Monitoring. 2020.

2 IE SOGI, A/73/152, 2018

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