The UN Human Rights Council resolution, passed on September 26, 2014, to combat violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, is a critically important achievement for upholding the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 25 human rights and other groups said today.
The new resolution follows a June 2011 resolution by the Human Rights Council that was the first by a UN body on human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Uruguay, and 42 additional co-sponsors introduced the resolution. In its presentation to the Council, Chile stated that “this resolution does not seek to create new rights…there are some whose rights are more violated and need more protection.” Colombia added “the report that we request is part of existing international law.” The resolution passed by a vote of 25 to 14, with 7 abstentions, with support from all regions and an increased base of support since 2011.
The resolution survived a total of seven hostile amendments, seeking to strip the resolution of all references to sexual orientation and gender identity. Brazil stated that the proposed amendments would “seek to radically change the purpose and focus of the resolution and change its substance.”
Advocates welcomed supportive remarks by the newly appointed UN high commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, earlier in the council session.
“There is no justification ever, for the degrading, the debasing or the exploitation of other human beings – on whatever basis: nationality, race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age or caste,”
Al Hussein stated. These comments follow on groundbreaking work by his predecessor, Navi Pillay, and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, on issues of sexual orientation and gender identity.
“The Human Rights Council resolution is a significant moment for global LGBTI movements, and for people around the world who have worked tirelessly for human rights for everyone,” said Monica Tabengwa, LGBT rights researcher at Human Rights Watch and an ILGA board member, Kenya. “We intend to press the Council to keep these concerns atop its agenda and to ensure sustained attention and action.”
Ireland was among the states that voted in favour of the resolution which were as follows:
Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Montenegro, Peru, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Romania, South Africa, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, United Kingdom, United States of America, Venezuela, Viet Nam.
Those who voted against included: Algeria, Botswana, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Gabon Indonesia, Kenya, Kuwait, Maldives, Morocco, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, The Russian Federation .
There were also a number of abstentions.
Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and ILGA are among those groups who support this statement.