UN General Assembly Votes to Uphold SOGI Expert

un-human-rightsA close vote on November 21, 2016, by a United Nations General Assembly committee affirmed that the newly appointed UN expert to address violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity should continue his work.
Over 850 NGOs from around the world called on the General Assembly’s Third Committee, which includes all member countries, to take a principled stand that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights are human rights. The vote rejected language advanced by African countries that sought to stop the expert from working until the UN could debate the “legal basis” of the mandate, which was created by the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
The UN Human Rights Council created the position of Independent Expert on sexual orientation and gender identity in June to assess implementation of existing international human rights law, identify best practices and gaps, raise awareness of violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and engage in dialogue and consultation with countries and other stakeholders.
The position will also facilitate provision of advisory services, technical assistance, capacity-building, and cooperation to help address violence and discrimination on these grounds. The Human Rights Council appointed Vitit Muntarbhorn, an international law professor from Thailand, in September, and his office has been operating since earlier in November.
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