Homophobic nations attempted to sabotage a LGBTI rights resolution at the United Nations today (12 July).
Nations like Egypt and Pakistan attempted to derail the vote on the Independent Expert for Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.
The role is intended to hold nations to account on LGBTI issues. Created in 2016, it will now continue for the next three years.
Distracting amendments included removing all mentions of sexual orientation and gender identity from the role.
Another amendment suggested ‘reiterating importance of respecting religion’ in the role.
Nazhat Shameem Khan, the representative for Fiji, opposed all of the derailing amendments.
‘All people are born free and equal in dignity and rights,’ she said.
‘Human rights are universal.’
What is the United Nations Independent Expert for Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity?
Victor Madrigal-Borloz, the current mandate holder, is chosen by the United Nations to further LGBTI rights.
He has analyzed barriers created by criminalization of homosexuality and stigma of being LGBTI. He intends to assess crises through an intersectional lens that respects grassroots LGBTI advocacy.
After the vote, Madrigal-Borloz tweeted: ‘Heartfelt congratulations to the committed States and 1300+ civil society organisations for their extraordinary achievement – the renewal of the #IESOGI mandate at #HRC41. I am as humbled and determined as the first day to continue at your side in this, the journey of a lifetime.’
Heartfelt congratulations to the committed States and 1300+ civil society organisations for their extraordinary achievement – the renewal of the #IESOGI mandate at #HRC41. I am as humbled and determined as the first day to continue at your side in this, the journey of a lifetime. pic.twitter.com/O3LGPDfDsO
— Victor Madrigal-Borloz (@victor_madrigal) July 12, 2019
The resolution passed 27 to 12 with 7 abstentions during the 41st session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Countries held accountable to protect their LGBTQ citizens
‘Today’s vote ensures… countries will be held accountable to protect their LGBTQ citizens,’ Jean Freedberg, HRC Director of Global Partnerships, said.
‘Yet even as we celebrate this victory, there is so much more to be done to truly protect even the most vulnerable among us, including transgender and intersex people — and to advance our path towards full equality.’
Established in 2016, the IE SOGI also helps nations to develop policies and actions to protect LGBTI people.
‘The extraordinary work of hundreds of human rights defenders and grassroots organisations from all over the world is what made today’s historic result possible’, said Tuisina Ymania Brown and Luz Elena Aranda, co-Secretaries General at ILGA World.
‘Their continuous push for change prompted 56 states to support the renewal of the mandate and send a clear message that the Human Rights Council will support protections against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity’.
‘This resolution to Renew IE SOGI represents a landmark moment,’ Julian Braithwaite, representing UK, also said.
‘It will resonate much beyond this room, especially in the 69 countries that still criminalize consensual same-sex intimacy’.
Laura Carter, of Amnesty International, also welcomed the vote result.
She told GSN: ‘The UN’s Independent Expert on sexual orientation and gender identity plays a crucial role in bringing international attention to the human rights violations faced by people around the world simply because of who they are or who they love.’