The United Nations General Assembly again gave its support to the independent LGBT human rights expert at the UN. A proposal by Burkina Faso to make the expert's work impossible was voted out. In cooperation with other organisations and governments, COC Netherlands has worked hard for this victory.
COC Netherland’s international policy staff member Joyce Hamilton: ‘This is a victory for LGBTs worldwide. The UN again recognizes that LGBT rights are also human rights, that sexual orientation or gender should not be grounds for discrimination and violence anywhere in the world. This is of historical importance’.
A group of countries led by Burkina Faso recently submitted a proposal that would make the work of the independent LGBT human rights expert Vitit Muntarbhorn impossible. The proposal was rejected by a majority of 84 countries. 77 countries voted in favour of Burkina Faso's proposal, and 16 countries abstained from voting.
In cooperation with colleague organizations, COC Netherlands coordinated the opposition to Burkina Faso's proposal. This led to a declaration signed by 870 human rights and LGBT organizations from 157 countries in support of the independent LGBT human rights expert.
What makes this victory extra special is that the cooperation of those against LGBT human rights was broken. South-Africa and Cape Verde voted in favour of the LGBT human rights expert, unlike other members of a bloc of African countries that often works together in fighting LGBT rights. The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (IOC), an alliance of Islamic countries in the UN and normally fiercely against LGBT rights, for the very first time ever did not voice its opinion on the subject.
Earlier in November, the independent LGBT human rights expert had been under attack in the preparatory committee of the UN, and even then the attack of those opposing LGBT rights was warded off.
The Thai human rights expert Vitit Muntarbhorn was appointed the first ever Independent Expert Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity for the UN and was commissioned to map violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) and the promotion of LGBT human rights. His appointment was the result of years of lobbying by the international LGBT movement, including COC Netherlands, within the UN.