Will South Africa vote for LGBTI expert at the UN?


UN Human Rights Council

South Africa has been urged to vote in favour of creating a UN Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.

A resolution to create the position has been tabled by six Latin American countries at the current session of the UN Human Rights Council.

According to activists, the expert would help address human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) within the UN system.

The expert would also encourage more effective responses by governments and bring greater clarity to the application of international human rights norms and standards when it comes to LGBTI people.

The Human Rights Council in Geneva is expected to hold a vote on the issue imminently.

On Monday, a joint statement by 601 organisations from 147 countries called for the appointment of the SOGI expert to address the protection gap for LGBTI people.

“Around the world, individuals experience grave human rights violations on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity,” said the groups.

“These include murder, rape, assault, torture, arbitrary arrest, discrimination in access to health care, employment, housing and education, repression of freedom of expression and association, attacks and restrictions on human rights defenders, denial of police services, extortion, bullying, denial of one’s self-defined gender identity, and other abuses.

“It’s time for the Human Rights Council to take meaningful action to end these abuses and advance positive reforms,” they insisted.

Steve Letsike, Director of Access Chapter 2, told Iranti-org that South Africa has a constitutional obligation to vote in favour of the resolution and urged it to continue to be “brave and bold” in leading Africa on LGBTI issues.

“LGBTI people across the world are not enjoying the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration [of Human Rights] or as enshrined in constitutions,” including the right to privacy, freedom of association, freedom of speech, and the right to life, she said.

“How many people have we lost [because of] the fact that they are lesbian, they are gay, they are transgender?” Letsike asked.

South Africa was the lead country in the passing of the groundbreaking 2011 resolution at the UN Human Rights Council to combat violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Get the Mamba Newsletter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend