On June 30th 2016 the United Nation Human Rights Council for the first time adopted the HRC resolution 32/2 on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, a remarkable milestone for LGBTIQ persons and communities around the world. The resolution was sponsored by Latin American states including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Uruguay. With 23 votes in favor, 18 against and 6 abstentions, the resolution also sought to appoint the first Independent Expert (IE) on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) to address the violence and discrimination based on SOGI. During the 33rd session of the Human Rights Council in September 2016, Prof. Vitit Muntarbhorn professor of law at the Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand was appointed as the first IE on SOGIE, and should have commenced his work on 1 November 2016.
This remarkable achievement, however, is currently under major threat. A group of African States at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) has tabled a draft resolution (A/C 3/70/L.66) to seek for the deferral of the HRC resolution 32/2 – indefinitely, in order to allow time for further consultations to determine the legal basis of the IE has been submitted by a group of States at the UN General Assembly in New York. This would be harmful and derail anti-violence and non-discrimination efforts in relation to acknowledgement of human rights of LGBTIQ under international human rights law. Such a move would also be destructive to the institutional integrity of the Human Rights Council, and its relationship with the UN’s Third Committee, and undermine strength or legitimacy of the human rights system.
The vote on the propose draft will be on November 8th, 2016. In relation to this, we, LGBTIQ civil society urge all countries to vote against the drafted resolution. Let us show our solidarity by contacting your government’s foreign affairs ministry in your capital and their Ambassador in New York and urge them to:
- Reject any attempt at undermining the mandate of the SOGI Independent Expert
- Resist the language in resolution questioning the mandate and deferring consideration to the Council’s resolution
- Defend and uphold the integrity and independence of the Human Rights Council and its decision
Sign the online petition here and spread the message to make the world a better place for all people of SOGIE.
Ryan Silverio, Regional Coordinator, ASEAN SOGIE Caucus (ASC)
Hiker Chiu, Co-Chair, ILGA ASIA
Joe Wong, Programme Manager, APTN
Joey Joleen Mataele, President, Pacific Sexual Diversity Network
Midnight Poonkasetwattana, Executive Director, APCOM