United Nations Independent Expert Victor Madrigal-Borloz to pursue LGBTQI research from Human Rights Program

As a resident fellow at HLS, UN expert will build a team of student assistants to support research

Harvard Law School’s Human Rights Program announced today that Victor Madrigal-Borloz, the United Nations independent expert for the protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI), will join the program as a senior visiting researcher. Madrigal-Borloz will be in residence at Harvard Law School from July 2019 to December 2020. He will build a team of students to support his research agenda, take part in HRP’s prestigious Visiting Fellowship Colloquium, present his research publicly to the HLS community, and join the larger human rights community at Harvard University.

“The Human Rights Program is honored to welcome Victor Madrigal-Borloz to Harvard Law School while he carries out his mandate,” said Gerald Neuman, co-director of HLS’ Human Rights Program and J. Sinclair Armstrong Professor of International, Foreign, and Comparative Law. “His work demonstrates his nuanced understanding of the issues and his sophisticated approach to dialogue with governments in order to achieve progress. Even as homosexuality is decriminalized in India, we see the world take steps backward elsewhere. Advocacy on these issues is more timely than ever.”

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) appointed Madrigal-Borloz for a three-year term beginning January 2018. As Independent Expert, he is pursuing two overarching objectives: 1) heightening awareness of the violence and discrimination people experience due to sexual orientation and gender identity; and 2) identifying measures that states may undertake to eradicate such violence and discrimination. He pursues these objectives via a variety of mechanisms: Writing thematic reports, reviewing allegations of human rights violations, and evaluating country-specific situations, among others.

“I am delighted to have found an ideal match in the Human Rights Program for three key reasons: Its resolve to pursue excellence to ensure the furtherance of human rights; the commitment of its faculty to the eradication of violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity; and the intellectual curiosity and contagious enthusiasm of its students,” said Madrigal-Borloz.

Until recently, Madrigal-Borloz was secretary-general of the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (ICRT). He was previously head of the registry of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), in addition to serving as a member of the UN Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture. In the latter role, he was rapporteur on reprisals and oversaw a draft policy on the torture and ill-treatment of LGBTI persons.

Madrigal-Borloz previously visited Harvard Law’s Human Rights Program in February 2019 for a public talk. He participated in a live Q&A with Zhadé Long ’20, which can still be viewed on the program’s Facebook page.