UN Human Rights Council votes for independent expert on LGBT discrimination and violence

In a 23 against 18 vote (6 abstentions)*, the United Nations Human Rights council voted in favour of a resolution condemning violence discrimination against people on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

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The resolution establishes the new position of an independent expert, whose role it will be to assess the implementation of existing international human rights instruments regarding LGBT people.

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The expert will furthermore identify best practices and gaps in terms of protection. The expert will engage in dialogue with states and other institutions on how to improve the situation and is mandated to report annually on the situation around the world.

The resolution builds upon two previous resolutions, adopted by the Council in 2011 and 2014.

Ulrike Lunacek MEP, Co-President of the LGBTI Intergroup, reacted: “This is a truly historic resolution. The Human Rights Council has taken a fundamental step forward by reaffirming one of the United Nations’ key principles—that everyone is equal in dignity and rights.”

“At the same time it acknowledges that LGBT people across the world continue suffer from (state-sponsored) discrimination and violence because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. I believe that the independent expert can play a key role in addressing this.”

Fabio Massimo Castaldo MEP, Vice-President of the LGBTI Intergroup, added: “I strongly welcome this resolution and I am glad to see it was supported by all EU Member States and accession states that are currently residing in the Human Rights Council, in line with the recommendation of the European Parliament.”

“However, unfortunately there were still 18 states that voted against the resolution. I call on these states and all other states to cooperate with the independent expert so that it can fulfil its full potential in fighting for the human rights of LGBT people.”

* Voting results

Voting in favour of the resolution

Albania, Belgium, Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, France, Georgia, Germany, Latvia, Macedonia, Mexico, Mongolia, Netherlands, Panama, Paraguay, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Slovenia, Switzerland, UK, Venezuela, Viet Nam

Voting against the resolution

Algeria, Bangladesh, Burundi, China, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Morocco, Nigeria, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Togo, United Arab Emirates

Abstaining on the resolution

Botswana, Ghana, India, Namibia, Philippines, South Africa

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