U.N. rejects renewed attempt to block LGBT expert

By 84-77, United Nations countries today (Monday) rejected a renewed attempt by African nations to block the appointment of the first-ever U.N. expert in charge of investigating violence and discrimination against sexual  minorities.

Several African nations' renewed bid to block the work of the new XX fell short by a vote of 84 against to 77 for, with 16 abstentions and several absences.
Several African nations’ attempt to block the work of the new U.N. expert on sexual minorities fell short Dec. 19, 2016, by a vote of 84 against to 77 for, with 16 abstentions and several absences.


In advance of the vote, Agence France-Presse reported:

African countries revive bid to block UN LGBT expert

Vitit Muntarbhorn (Photo courtesy of LGBTQ Nation)
Vitit Muntarbhorn (Photo courtesy of LGBTQ Nation)

African countries are reviving a bid at the United Nations to block the appointment of the first-ever UN expert tasked with investigating violence and discrimination against LGBT minorities.

Burkina Faso on Thursday circulated a letter to the UN General Assembly on behalf of African countries urging support for its demand to hold talks on the appointment. …

The UN Human Rights Council in September appointed international law professor Vitit Muntarbhorn of Thailand to investigate abuses against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people worldwide.

African countries failed last month to push for the adoption of a draft resolution demanding talks on the legality of the new expert’s mandate during a vote in the assembly’s human rights committee.

A total of 73 countries — almost 40 percent of all 193 UN members — still have laws on their books making homosexuality a crime.

In Africa alone, 33 countries have anti-gay laws including Uganda, Nigeria, Sudan and Mauritania.

In the letter to UN member states, the African countries criticized Muntarbhorn after he set out goals for his mission in an address last month, including decriminalization.

“This shows clearly that the mandate is already being abused by the independent expert to promote legally baseless new rights that are not internationally recognized,” the letter said.

Muntarbhorn, who began work as the UN expert last month, has been appointed for three years.

He will carry out country visits, raise allegations of LGBT rights violations with governments and work to protect rights defenders.

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Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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