UN Human Rights Council appointed an independent expert on LGBTI discrimination

The decision was announced on July 1st and has been described as a historic victory.

The first of July the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) appointed an independent expert to target the ongoing discrimination of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people all over the world. This was classified as a "historic victory" for the community.

Jessica Stern, OutRight International executive director said regarding the announcement, “For LGBTI people everywhere who have fought so hard for this victory, take strength from this recognition, and let today represent the dawn of a new day.”

More than 600 NGOs were pushing for the resolution to be adopted in Geneva, the headquarters of the HCR. OutRight along with other 27 non-governmental groups celebrated the decision in a joint statement.

The appointment of the expert is a great step for these issues as not all of the 193 UN members stand for LGBTI issues. In fact, John Fisher, of Human Right's watch told IPS that "some States will decline to cooperate, which only underlines the need for the outreach work that an Independent expert will do."

The vote in the HRC in Genève passed with 23 votes in favor, 18 against and 6 abstentions. Many Latin American countries have been making progress according to Human Rights Watch, ant the vote followed the same behavior.

In fact, in the HRC meeting African and few Asian countries voted in favor of the resolution. The rest of the votes against came from Arab States, China and Russia.

But the NGO's who supported the resolution came from developing countries. “It is important to note that around 70 percent of the organizations are from the global south,” Yahia Zaidi of the MantiQitna Network said to IPS. .

The expert will "assess the implementation of existing international human rights instruments with regard to ways to overcome violence and discrimination against persons on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and to identify and address the root causes of violence and discrimination."

According to reports of the Anti-Violence Project, violence against transgender people has become common. In 2014 plolice violence as 7 times more likely to affect transgender people than non-transgender. In 2015, 67% of the victims of hate violence related killinf of LGBTI people were transgender.

The resolution follows the path of HRC decisions made in 2011 and 2014, and this time the expert is its main innovation, still other issues were debated.

"Some amendments were adopted suggesting that cultural and religious values should be respected; these amendments could be interpreted as detracting from the universality of human rights. The resolution does, however, also include a provision from the outcome document of the Vienna World Conference on Human Rights, affirming the primacy of human rights,” Fisher reported.


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