In historic but controversial move UN Human Rights Council appoints expert on protection of LGBT

July 6, 2016

In a historic vote on 30 June 2016 the UN Human Rights Council created an Independent Expert dedicated to sexual orientation and gender identity issues. The “Independent expert on protection from violence and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) people“, as the official title runs, was warmly welcomed by the LGBTI community around the world. Twenty-three Council members voted for the new position, 18 members against, and six abstained.

During the epic three hour vote, the original resolution proposed jointly by the Governments of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico and Uruguay was watered down by a series of amendments led by countries like Russia and members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation such as Pakistan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which pledged not to coöperate with the Independent Expert. However, it should be noted that non-cooperation with the Council’s mechanisms – although frequent – is fundamentally incompatible with Council membership.

A number of hostile amendments adopted ‘inserted discredited notions of cultural relativism into the text,‘ said Ms Patel of the ISHR.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) pride march. Photo: OHCHR/Joseph Smida
Speaking to reporters in New York, the UN spokesperson on 1 July said that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the move. For the first time, work on this issue will be effectively institutionalized at the Human Rights Council and there will regular reporting on these issues through the Council and the General Assembly. The expert, to be appointed in September for an initial 3-year term, will carry out country visits, take up individual allegations with Governments and work to support and protect human rights defenders.

Source: United Nations News Centre – UN agrees to appoint human rights expert on protection of LGBT

For earlier posts on LGBTI see:

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