A Guide for Defenders Working on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression and Sex Characteristics
Diana Carolina Prado Mosquera
Publication Date
Publication Date: 
November 21, 2017

"SOGIESC issues are often side-lined during dialogues at the international level, but the UPR is one of the few forums where there can be vital debate on LGBTI human rights with governments who may otherwise not engage with or even tolerate such discussions."

Created by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), this guide is designed for activists working on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics (SOGIESC) issues who wish to engage with the Universal Periodic Review (UPR).

Created in March 2006, the UPR is a mechanism that monitors and seeks to improve the human rights record of each and every United Nations (UN) Member State. As of 2017, over 1,375 recommendations have been made to more than 158 countries in an attempt to improve the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and intersex (LGBTI) persons. LGBTI defenders have been using the UPR since its very beginning, and the recommendations they advocated for have helped bring about tangible legal change in many countries worldwide. (Example: the amendment of the criminal code to address hate crimes and speech against persons on the grounds of their sexual orientation or gender identity in Honduras, Hungary, and the Netherlands.) It is their experiences, and the expertise of ILGA's UPR programme, that have informed and inspired the SOGIESC UPR Advocacy Toolkit.

The toolkit is designed as a step-by-step guide that will help LGBTI human rights defenders and their organisations to build an effective strategy when engaging in every part of the UPR process (from the very beginning to the follow-up and mid-term reporting), as well as to conduct advocacy both in their countries and in Geneva, Switzerland. It also includes practical tools and examples that defenders can adapt to their specific situation and needs, such as reports, calendars, databases, and examples of SOGIESC UPR submissions.


  • Getting started with the UPR process is designed to help the reader think about preparing for the UPR process, either by establishing a roadmap on deadlines, identifying key partners, and how to draft a submission (substantial and technical information).
  • Drafting recommendations explores how to propose a solution to the issues that raised in the submission/report by drafting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound recommendations (S.M.A.R.T.).
  • Engaging with governments presents options on how to plan in-country and Geneva advocacy and aims to help the activist ensure that the proposed recommendations will be used by the recommending States.
  • UPR Working Group Sessions focuses on the technicalities of the Working Group Sessions and shares tips on how to engage with this part of the process.
  • UPR outcome/Item 6 of the Agenda of the Human Rights Council [HRC] addresses the official participation of civil society organisations (CSOs) on the UPR during the HRC.
  • UPR follow-up and implementation focuses on the different strategies that CSOs and other stakeholders have implemented in order to follow up the UPR process.
  • Mid-term reports addresses the area of presenting mid-term reports to address the implementation of the UPR recommendations.
  • Tools and resources summarises the SOGIESC UPR strategy in a nutshell and also shares tools such as: webpages, reports, calendars, technical guidelines, databases, examples of SOGIESC UPR submissions, templates, etc.

In a truly global community effort, the publication was developed together with 14 CSOs from across the world and with input from ILGA member organisations, and it is supported by all six ILGA regions. ILGA is the world federation of national and local organisations dedicated to achieving equal rights for LGBTI) people. It is an umbrella organisation of more than 1,200 member organisations in six different regions: ILGA Asia, ILGA-Europe, ILGALAC (Latin America and the Caribbean), ILGA North-America, ILGA Oceania, and Pan Africa ILGA.


English; Spanish

Number of Pages: 

37 (English); 38 (Spanish)


ILGA website, December 4 2017; and emails from Diana Carolina Prado Mosquera to The Communication Initiative on December 14 2017 and January 10 2018. Image caption: Autumn's SOGIESC UPR Advocacy week (28th UPR working group session). Meeting with diplomats in Geneva