The Human Rights Council was established at the turn of the twenty first century and, in line with the progressive development of international human rights law and standards, it was the space where emerging issues have been addressed. I would like to emphasize two main initiatives of the new human rights agenda where Argentina has contributed in line with its legislative and institutional framework at the national level.
The first one is the rights of LGBTI individuals, where Argentina, together with other Latin American countries (e.g. Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica and Mexico) promoted the initiative of establishing an Independent Expert on the protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in 2016. This initiative followed a groundbreaking resolution adopted in 2011, the first inter-governmental document that expressly recognized the rights of LGBTI individuals not to be subjected to violence or discrimination as well as other resolutions adopted ever since. In all these resolutions, Argentina participated actively and co-sponsored the initiative.
The progress in the field has been enormous in a relatively short period of time. The Argentine decision to form part of all core groups on the rights of LGBTI individuals (at the GA, the Council and the OAS) has shown the country’s clear commitment to the issue at the international level. This decision was fully in line with its national context. In the last decade, Argentina has transformed itself into one of the countries with the most progressive laws regarding equality for LGBTI individuals and gender identity. These laws have been accompanied by a positive cultural change towards respect for and acceptance of sexual minorities in the country.
The second emerging issue where Argentina worked hand in hand with Brazil has been the protection of the rights of older persons. In a world where people tend to live longer, the issue is unavoidable. The two biggest South American countries joined their efforts to those of the High Commissioner, who had referred to the need to establish a mandate in the Council to study the issue as well as the desirability of considering a specific legal framework for older persons.
These initiatives have been promoted in the last few years both at the UN and the OAS levels, with positive results so far. As has happened in many other cases, it was easier to move forward in the Inter-American System, where a regional instrument has already been adopted. At the UN level, Argentina and Brazil achieved by consensus the establishment of a new Special Rapporteur in 2013. They have also contributed to the work on the issue at the GA level. A growing consensus has been demonstrating the need to develop a specific instrument of international human rights law in the field. It remains to be seen if this finally happens.