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UN LGBT Position Challenged

By Charlotte Robinson, November 07, 2016
A coalition of homophobic countries are attempting to repeal a decision by the UN’s Human Rights Council to appoint an independent expert on sexual orientation & gender identity (SOGI) issues. LGBT rights program manager at the International Service of Human Rights (ISHR), Pooja Patel said an African group of countries at the current General Assembly session at the UN in New York were attempting to question the legal basis of the recent landmark decision & a vote is anticipated to be held tomorrow November 8th. Ms. Patel stated, “This move is harmful to non-violence & anti-discrimination efforts in relation to lesbian, gay, bisexual & trans people around the world. It will also entrench an ugly precedent whereby the Third Committee could effectively reverse any decision by the Human Rights Council, completely undermining its integrity & independence. There is no doubt that issues of sexual orientation & gender identity remain challenging in so many of our societies. This only enhances the urgent need for a UN expert who can respectfully & principally work towards bridging the divide while contributing towards the safety & dignity of LGBT people.” Eleanor Openshaw, Co-Director of ISHR's New York office added, “The legal validity of this expert position is rooted in principles of non-discrimination & universality of human rights as enshrined in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. It is very much in line with the Council’s responsibility & obligation, as articulated in its founding documents, to promote the universal protection of all human rights & fundamental freedoms for all.” ISHR has joined a global call to all countries to uphold principles of universality of human rights & to reject any attempt at weakening the autonomy of the Human Rights Council.
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