As the global trend of domestic policy tips the scales of progress back towards xenophobia, racism, inequality, and isolationism, international bodies are continuing to insist upon governing themselves and their constituents with affirming policies of multiculturalism and inclusion.
In September, the United Nations Human Rights Council appointed Thai professor and human rights expert Vitit Muntarbhorm as the inaugural Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. Following a similar line, the World Bank has announced the creation of the office of the Advisor on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, and the appointment of LGBTI and HIV policy advocate Clifton Cortez to the position.
Cortez has lead the US Agency for International Development and the UN Development Programme’s HIV/health and development policy efforts, working at USAID as a global advisor and as team leader for UNDP’s Asia-Pacific branch. In his capacity as the World Bank’s Advisor of SOGI issues, he will head efforts to expand economic opportunities and inclusion for LGBTI people worldwide and to counteract measures that seek to exclude them.
“Discrimination against any group is not only morally wrong, it stands in the way of sustained, balanced, and inclusive economic growth,” said World Bank President Jim Yong Kim. “There is very little data on the economic impacts of LGBTI discrimination, and we need to strengthen our case for economic inclusion. We must end the discriminatory practices that prevent LGBTI persons from accessing jobs, education, health care, financial markets, housing, and other areas necessary for economic growth and stability.”
The Victory Institute lauds the World Bank for affirming the dignity of LGBTI persons through this effort.
“With so many factors working against the progress of the worldwide LGBTI community, inclusive and representative efforts like the World Bank’s are crucial,” said Victory Institute’s International Programs Director Luis Abolafia-Anguita.