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African Group rejects United Nations LGBTI-rights investigator

African Group rejects United Nations LGBTI-rights investigator

Pictured: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. It is hoped the envoy would correct some of the problems faced by LGBTI people in Africa.

A contingent of African nations hope to overturn the pro-LGBTI United Nations decision to employ an investigator into LGBTI rights in Africa.

In September the United Nations Rights Council International appointed law professor Vitit Muntarbhorn as a UN investigator, to look into possible rights violations against LGBTI people on the continent.

The decision to hire an envoy was strongly disapproved of by African and Muslim-majority UN countries.

Now the African Group, a regional sector of the United Nations, has drafted a resolution to prevent the program from going forward.

The 54-African nations who comprise the group say resources are better spent on ‘other issues of paramount importance, such as the right to development and the racism agenda’.

The group believes ‘sexual orientation and gender identity’ should therefore not be priorities for the UN.

There are 76 countries where it is illegal to be gay, and 33 of these are in Africa.

The United Nations has consistently pushed for reform on LGBTI rights in those countries where homosexuality is illegal or penalized.

Beyond the African Group other regional groups, like the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Group of Friends of the Family, which was launched last year by Belarus, Egypt and Qatar, frequently antagonize efforts to push through pro-LGBTI initiatives.

Earlier this year, a number of groups representative of the LGBTI community were barred from a conference on AIDS. The ban was protested by the United States, Canada, and other nations.