African states rebuff U.N. appointee for gay rights

| November 8, 2016
Vitit Muntarborn

Vitit Muntarborn

(GIN)—The appointment of international law professor Vitit Muntarborn could be stalled or dead in the water after a majority of African countries voted to reject the U.N.’s pick for a monitor of LGBT rights on the continent.

The African countries drafted a resolution calling for the new U.N. investigator to be suspended from his job.

The 54-member Africa group said concentrating on gay rights would detract from other issues including racism, DW reported.

Professor Muntarbhorn of Thailand was appointed in September by the U.N. Human Rights Council. The resolution against his appointment was adopted by a 23-18 vote with six abstentions, reflecting the deep divisions internationally on gay rights, the Washington Post reported.

The U.N. has been trying to improve the rights of the LGBT community but has repeatedly been opposed by member countries, especially in the Middle East, Africa, China and Russia.

Botswana’s ambassador to the UN, Charles Ntwaagae, said last week that African nations want the General Assembly to delay consideration of a Human Rights Council resolution adopted on June 30 that authorized the appointment of an expert to monitor LGBT rights to discuss “the legality of the creation of this man Ntwaagae,” according to a news report.

According to a UN human rights report last year, at least 76 countries retain laws used to criminalize and harass people on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity or expression, including laws criminalizing consensual same-sex relationships among adults.

Muntarbhorn will be expected to visit countries and bring human rights violations to the attention of U.N. members. He will investigate human rights violations against lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender and intersex people.

Muntarbhorn, who has been on the council’s Commission of Inquiry on Syria and previously served as UN special investigator on North Korea and on child prostitution and child pornography, was given a wide mandate by the Human Rights Council for three years.

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Category: Africa Briefs

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