UN body creates post on sexual orientation, gender identity

Geneva, Jul 1: The UN's top human rights body has decided to appoint an expert to monitor violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

In a narrow 23-18 vote with six abstentions, the Human Rights Council yesterday called for the creation of a three-year position for an independent expert to look into wrongdoing against gays, lesbians and transgender people. The expert is expected to be appointed at the next meeting of the 47-member, Geneva-based body in September.

United Nations

"This is truly momentous," said Micah Grzywnowicz of the Swedish Federation for LGBTQ Rights in a statement. "This is our opportunity to bring international attention to specific violations and challenges faced by transgender and gender non-conforming persons in all regions."

The resolution benefited from strong support from Latin America and the West, while many African and Middle Eastern countries joined China voting against it. The expert's duties will include assessing international human rights laws, raising awareness of violence based on sexual orientation, and engaging in dialogue with member states and other stakeholders.

The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association hailed a "turning point" that will boost international scrutiny of wrongdoing against people for their sexual orientation and gender identity. 


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