Another Victory of the UN Rejecting Another Effort to Suspend the Mandate of Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

On Monday, December 19th, a group of states attempted to halt the mandate of the Independent Expert on the “protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI). The position of Independent Expert in SOGI was created by the passing of UN Human Rights Council resolution A/HRC/RES/32/2 in June of this year and is held by Vitit Muntarbhorn, a Thai human rights expert. The Independent Expert began his work in November. The first attempt to block this resolution was during the UNGA third committee meeting in November. The mandate of IE on SOGIE was safeguarded with 84 countries voting in favour, 77 against and 17 abstentions. The vote on Monday was the second hostile attempt to defer the mandate by introducing the amendment A/71/45.

We would convey our huge appreciation for the Asia Pacific countries who decided to stand with us and voted against the hostile amendment.

We welcome the decision of the United Nations General Assembly once again safeguarded the mandate. The defeat of the hostile amendment was remarkable and brought impact (84 voted against, 77 voted in favour and 16 abstentions on the proposed amendment A/71/45). The SOGI Independent Expert will continue with his work to document LGBTIQ human rights violations globally. With the increasing of threats and violence against LGBTIQ persons in many countries, the role of Independent Expert on SOGI becomes more important to bring these issues within then international level. The established mechanism will give assurance to LGBTIQ persons worldwide that all persons are fully entitled for protection under the international human rights law, regardless of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. We would convey our huge appreciation for the Asia Pacific countries who decided to stand with us and voted against the hostile amendment[1]. We, the undersigned below, are committed to support the mandate holder to end discrimination and violence as well as to achieve the enjoyment of human rights for LGBTIQ persons.

[1] Voted against the amendment: Australia, Cambodia, Fiji, Japan, Kiribati, Mongolia, Nepal, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Samoa, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor Leste, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Vietnam. Voted in favour the amendment: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, China, DPR of Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nauru, Pakistan, Singapore. Voted to abstain/did not vote: Bhutan, India, Lao DPR, Micronesia (FS), Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands, Tonga.

Signed by:

Abhina Aher, Chair Person, Regional Steering Committee, APTN
Hiker Chiu, Co-Chair, ILGA ASIA
Joey Joleen Mataele, President, Pacific Sexual Diversity Network
Midnight Poonkasetwattana, Executive Director, APCOM
Ryan Silverio, Regional Coordinator, ASEAN SOGIE Caucus (ASC)

Source – Apcom