Earlier this month, the 54-member UN African caucus circulated a draft resolution calling for consultations on the legality of a three-year mandate aimed to help protect LGBT people from violence and discrimination. Vitit Muntarbhorn (above) was appointed to the role in June by the 47-member UN Human Rights Council.
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Speaking for the Africa group, Botswana’s UN Ambassador Charles Ntwaagae said member nations are concerned that “non-internationally agreed notions such as sexual orientation and gender identity are given attention, to the detriment of issues of paramount importance such as the right to development and the racism agenda.”
However, delegates from Latin America and Caribbean nations introduced an amendment to prevent an unspecified delay in implementing the Human Rights resolution and suspension of Muntarbhorn’s activities.
ABC reports that the amendment was adopted by a vote of 84-77 with 12 abstentions by the UN’s human rights committee. The amended resolution was then approved by a vote of 94-3 with 80 abstentions.
The issue now now goes to the 193-member General Assembly for a final vote, when the Africans could again try to seek a delay. The vote is due to take place next month and is expected to gp in favor of the amended resolution.
According to a 2015 UN human rights report, at least 76 countries retain laws used to criminalize and harass people on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, including laws criminalizing consensual same-sex relationships among adults.