UN Creates World’s First ‘Special LGBT Independent Expert’ Position

This is truly a step in the right direction!  But how big of a step is it? And will it really amount to anything?


In a resolution passed [Thursday June 30th] with 23 states in favor, 18 against, and six abstaining, the United Nations Human Rights Council voted to establish the position of an independent expert whose express and specific goal will be to identify, document and combat homophobia and violence against LGBTQ people across the globe. The initiative was led by a group of Latin American member countries of the U.N.’s 47-member Human Rights Council, including Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile and Mexico.

More than 620 non-governmental organizations from 151 countries on every continent signed a joint statement of support, declaring:

“It is time to move beyond one-off initiatives and piecemeal measures. … The establishment of a dedicated protection mechanism to address [sexual orientation and gender identity]-related human rights violations is a necessary step towards urgently addressing the serious abuses on these grounds in every region of the world.”

For some, in countries where being gay is still a crime or even punishable by death, these words may in fact be the difference between life and death. Currently, 73 countries still criminalize same-sex relationships, and in as many as 10 countries, it can still be considered a capital offense.

Once appointed, the envoy's responsibilities will include visits to countries where the human rights of LGBTQ individuals or communities may be at risk, connecting with human rights advocates on site, diplomatic engagement with officials, and decision-making on improvements and reform.

The UN's LGBTQ expert will also be in charge of collecting evidence and data on human rights violations. The independent expert will act as a bridge between the Human Rights Council in Geneva and the broader UN system.

The expert will help guarantee that LGBTQ rights remain a priority in the international domain, politically and otherwise. – out.com

Not everyone on the UN Human Rights Council voted in favor of this new position.  Does this show that even in a committee that is dedicated to the protection of human rights, LGBTers are not seen as human?  LGBT causes and rights may be deemed special? Not everyone on the committee knows the definition of equal?

Nations like India abstained from voting.  The Hindu online publication shares with us why Indian delegated did not vote. 



India avoided taking a position on the need to end discrimination based on sexual orientation at the Human Rights Council of the UN, as the Supreme Court is yet to “pronounce” on the issue of rights of LGBT persons, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Friday.

The MEA’s clarification came a day after India abstained from a voting at the UNHRC on a resolution to set up the office of Independent Expert to end discrimination against LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transexual) persons.

“The issue of LGBT rights in India is a matter being considered by the Supreme Court under a batch of curative petitions filed by various institutions and organisations. The Supreme Court is yet to pronounce on this issue. As such, We had to take this into account in terms of our vote on the third UN resolution to institutionalise the office of an Independent Expert to prevent discrimination against LGBT persons,” said Vikas Swarup, MEA spokesperson.

The move to create this special office in support for the LGBT community follows the June 12 mass killing at an Orlando night club in Florida.





















The resolution which was backed by the Latin American member states was opposed by Russia and the Islamic countries as India, Philippines and South Africa abstained. – thehindu.com

23 – 18 – 6 .  Twenty three nation delegates voted yes, 18 voted no, and 6 abstained.  Or 23 said yes while 24 did not fully approve.  Over half did not say yes.  Sorry that was so sophomoric, but I think it shows that the world is not ready for LGBT equality.  These 47 of course are not the entire United Nations, but just a small committee.  And it's the Human Rights Committee which is supposed to fight for … well … human rights.  Do you think the other UN members feel differently if a committee designed to protect human rights is not more than 50% in support of this new position?

Once again, this is a step in the right direction, but will this step turn into a walk of victory?


h/t:  out.com and thehindu.com

Leave a Comment