The top human rights body at the United Nations has voted to appoint an independent expert on protection from violence and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) people.
The Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council debated the issue for nearly four hours on Thursday before adopting a resolution to create the new post. Twenty-three Council members voted for the new position, 18 members against, and six abstained.
Speaking today to reporters in New York, the UN spokesperson said that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the move.
“I can tell you that the Secretary-General believes that the Human Rights Council marked another important step forward when it decided to appoint a UN Independent Expert to monitor and report on levels of violence and discrimination against LGBT people globally,” said Spokesman Stéphane Dujarric.
“It is clear that there’s still so much that needs to be done to protect people from violence, tackle discrimination at work, end bullying in schools and ensure access to healthcare, housing and essential services,” he added.
For the first time, work on this issue will be effectively institutionalized at the Human Rights Council and there will regular reporting on these issues through the Council and the General Assembly.
The expert, to be appointed in September for an initial 3-year term, will carry out country visits, take up individual allegations with Governments and work to support and protect human rights defenders.
The position will look at issues related to people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, but not intersex.