India Abstains From UN Vote To Set Up Independent LGBT Expert
July 2nd, 2016
In spite of getting an opportunity, India abstained from voting for the need to end discrimination based on sexual orientation at the Human Rights Council of the United Nations (UNHRC).
The resolution was meant to set up an office of Independent Expert to end discrimination directed against people from LGBT community.
The Ministry of External Affairs on Friday justified avoiding the voting as the case is sub judice and the Supreme Court of India is yet to pronounce its verdict on the issue.
MEA Spokesperson, Vikas Swarup, told TheHindu, “The issue of LGBT rights in India is a matter being considered by the Supreme Court under a batch of curative petitions filed by various institutions and organisations. The Supreme Court is yet to pronounce on this issue. As such, We had to take this into account in terms of our vote on the third UN resolution to institutionalise the office of an Independent Expert to prevent discrimination against LGBT persons.”
About the Resolution
The move to create a separate office for the LGBT section comes in the aftermath of the Orlando nightclub killing in Florida on June 12. The resolution was passed on Friday by a narrow margin of 23-18 vote with six abstentions. While countries of North and South America strongly supported the resolution, many African and Middle Eastern countries joined by China and Russia voted against it.
Function of the expert
The expert is likely to be appointed at the next UN meeting in September. The expert will carry out the responsibility of assessing international human rights laws, raising awareness of violence related to sexual orientation and engaging dialogue with member states and other stakeholders.
India is an important part of the world
India with a population of 1.2 billion amounts to a significant part of humanity. India should not only raise its voice but should be at the forefront of fighting for the rights of marginalized groups. India is getting a lot of international exposure now thanks to our aggressive and progressive foreign policy, for India to abstain from voting on serious issues of such does not bode well for the largest democracy in the world.