The Human Rights Council of the UN has taken an historic decision with the appointment of the Thai human rights expert Vitit Muntarbhorn as the first ever Independent Expert for LGBTs. He will be in charge of combating violence and discrimination against LGBTs, and the promotion of advancing their human rights.
The appointment of the Independent Expert was achieved after years of fighting for this by LGBT movements within the UN, including COC Netherlands.
Vitit Muntarbhorn (63) is a Professor of International Law at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, and is regarded internationally as a human rights expert. The Thai had previously been involved in UN surveys in Syria, and was a special observer for North-Korea. Moreover, in 2006 he was closely involved in the drafting of the Yogyakarta Principles - the blueprint for LGBT human rights.
Professor Muntarbhorn will now get a mandate to investigate human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity for the next three years. He also gets the task of promoting the implementation of LGBT human rights, for instance through dialogue and giving advice on this in cooperation with UN Member States.
Last June in Geneva, the UN Human Rights Council decided to appoint an Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI). This decision stems from the 2011 Human Rights Council declaration of the UN on violence and discrimination against LGBTs. COC Netherlands has a consultative status in the UN and has always been closely involved in the lobbying for this.
The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) welcomes the decision to appoint a special LGBT expert.