Equal Rights Coalition

The intergovernmental Equal Rights Coalition (ERC) is dedicated to the protection of the rights of LGBTI persons. It was launched in July 2016, under the leadership of Uruguay and the Netherlands at the Global LGBTI Human Rights Conference in Montevideo. The ERC advances the human rights of LGBTI persons and promotes inclusive development in both member and non-member countries. With 42 member states the ERC advances its agenda by engaging with civil society organisations and multilateral agencies.

42 member states

  • Albania
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Cabo Verde
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Costa Rica
  • Cyprus
  • the Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Ecuador
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Iceland
  • Honduras
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Mexico
  • Montenegro
  • the Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • North Macedonia
  • Norway
  • Portugal
  • Serbia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Ukraine
  • the United Kingdom
  • the United States
  • Uruguay

From June 2017 – June 2019, Canada served as co-chair of the ERC along with Chile. The current ERC co-chairs are the United Kingdom and Argentina.

The ERC works closely with civil society, multilateral partners and UN agencies, especially through groups focused on:

  • international and regional diplomacy
  • LGBTI inclusion in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
  • coordination of donor funding
  • national laws, policies and practices

Civil society, multilateral partners

  • Akahata
  • ARC International
  • Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
  • COC
  • COC Netherlands
  • Colectivo Hombres XX
  • Council for Global Equality
  • CREA
  • Dignity Initiative
  • Egale Canada
  • Equitas (Canada)
  • Espacio de Mujeres Lesbianas por la Diversidad - ESMULES
  • Fundación Iguales
  • Human Rights Watch
  • ILGA World
  • Kaleidoscope Trust
  • Movilh
  • OII Australia
  • OTD Chile
  • OutRight
  • Pan Africa ILGA
  • Rainbow Railroad (Canada)
  • RFSL
  • Stonewall
  • Synergia
  • UNDP
  • World Bank

Founding principles

Recalling the affirmation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in the Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status;

Affirming that rights and freedoms enshrined in international human rights law apply equally to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons;

Expressing our deep concern about the serious levels of violence and discrimination targeting LGBTI persons, as documented by various international, regional and national bodies;

Welcoming the positive steps taken in various countries in all regions to address acts of violence, to repeal discriminatory laws and policies, protect persons from discrimination and to raise awareness about the human rights of all, without distinction of any kind;

Stressing the importance of close involvement and participation of local LGBTI communities and other relevant stakeholders in our human rights and development efforts, and addressing the distinct challenges faced by lesbian and bisexual women, gay and bisexual men, transgender persons, intersex persons and other LGBTI persons who are at risk of human rights violations and abuses, including on the basis of multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination;

Recognising existing coordination and cooperation mechanisms and initiatives to exchange experiences between peers within and between regions, and underlining the need for complementary engagement and action to advance the human rights of and promote inclusive development for LGBTI persons; 

We, as participating States, commit to:

Strengthening cooperation in, coordination of and communication about our efforts to advance the human rights of, and support inclusive development for, all persons, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, and sex characteristics;

Establishing a coalition to share, as appropriate, information between our States on how best to advance the human rights of, and support inclusive development for, LGBTI persons, and to consider measures needed to protect and advance these rights, working in close engagement with all relevant stakeholders, including regional and multilateral organisations, civil society organisations, and the private sector;

Building bridges, common ground and engaging in a spirit of open, respectful and constructive dialogue and cooperation with all States and relevant stakeholders, always having in mind a positive perspective;

Consulting closely with civil society to ensure our individual and combined international efforts adhere to the principle of “Do No Harm”, do not undermine or further marginalise LGBTI persons or other persons in vulnerable situations, and instead create an enabling environment in which their human rights can be respected, protected and promoted;

Working together towards a world where all persons, born free and equal in dignity and rights, will be able to fulfil their precious birthright.

Signed at Montevideo, 13 July 2016

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