Victor Madrigal-Borloz is a Costa Rican jurist who serves as the United Nations Independent Expert on Protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. In other words, he is the UN’s top watchdog for LGBTI rights worldwide
The fact that this position even exists in the UN system was at the time controversial. In UN lingo, this position is known as the IE SOGI, or Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. It was created in 2016 by votes in the Human Rights Council and General Assembly, the latter of which includes every UN member state. Some of these states are actively hostile to LGBTI rights, and accordingly sought to block establishing this role. They were unsuccessful, and Victor Madrigal-Borloz has now been on his job for two years.
When I spoke with Victor Madrigal-Borloz he had just briefed the General Assembly on his latest report on LGBTI rights globally so we kick off discussing that report and have a broader conversation about how he goes about his work, fulfilling his UN mandate to protect LGBTI individuals around the world.
If you have 20 minutes and want to learn how the UN LGBTI Rights Watchdog seeks to defend human rights worldwide, have a listen.