Council Establishes Mandate on Protection Against Violence and Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. 30/6/2016

Published by OHCHR

The Human
Rights Council this afternoon decided to appoint, for a period of three years,
an Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based
on sexual orientation and gender identity.  It also adopted a resolution
on youth and human rights.
 
Adopted by a vote of 23 in favour, 18 against and 6 abstentions, the resolution
said the mandate of the Independent Expert would be to assess the
implementation of existing international human rights instruments with regard
to ways to overcome violence and discrimination against persons on the basis of
their sexual orientation or gender identity, and to identify and address the
root causes of violence and discrimination.
 
The Council also decided to convene a panel discussion on the theme, “Youth and
human rights” at its thirty-third session to identify challenges, best
practices and lessons learned in the exercise of human rights by young people.
 
Introducing draft texts were El Salvador, Republic of Moldova, Portugal, Chile,
Uruguay, Brazil, Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation
with the exception of Albania, and Mexico.
 
Speaking in general comments were the Netherlands on behalf of the European
Union, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, Maldives, Qatar, and the United Arab
Emirates.
 
Speaking in explanation of the vote before or after the vote were Mexico,
Slovenia, Switzerland, Germany, Panama, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Russia,
Philippines, South Africa, Botswana, Nigeria, Viet Nam, Indonesia, Albania,
France, Morocco, Algeria, Ghana, and Namibia.
 
Saudi Arabia called for a no-action motion on the draft resolution on
protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and
gender identity in accordance with Rule 116.  Mexico and Panama spoke
against the motion, while Bangladesh and Nigeria on behalf of the Organization
of Islamic Cooperation, with the exception of Albania, spoke in favour of the motion. 
The Council also took action on a series of draft amendments relating to the
draft resolution.
 
The Human Rights Council will continue taking action on draft resolutions and
decisions at 7 p.m. this evening.
 
Action on Resolutions under the Agenda Item on the Promotion and Protection
of All Human Rights, Civil, Political, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,
including the Right to Development

 
Action on Resolution on Youth and Human Rights
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/32/L.1) on youth and human rights,
adopted without a vote, the Council decides to convene at its thirty-third
session a panel discussion on the theme, “Youth and human rights”, the
objective of which will be to identify challenges, best practices and lessons
learned in the exercise of human rights by young people, as well as relevant
opportunities for the empowerment of youth in the exercise of their rights.
 
El Salvador, introducing draft resolution L.1 on youth and human rights,
thanked the many co-sponsors, and said that the adoption of this first-ever
resolution on youth would be a historical landmark by the Council.  Youth
had to be considered part of the proactive machinery of a country, and measures
had to be taken to ensure their rights and their participation in development
efforts and conflict prevention.  However, they were often treated as a
threat and a source of problems, and were marginalized politically.  Lack
of access to opportunities and to quality education, including human rights
education, had a negative effect on youth, and made the youth more affected by
extremism.
 
Portugal, also introducing draft resolution L.1, said that the text struck a
balance and reiterated commitment to continue to engage constructively to
ensure the enjoyment of human rights by youth.
 
Republic of Moldova, also introducing draft resolution L.1 on youth and human
rights, recalled that the global youth population had reached a historic high
and had strong potential to transform economies and shape societies. 
Youth, however, faced many challenges in realizing their economic, social,
cultural, civil and political rights.  This draft resolution sought to
explore both the challenges and good practices in exercising the rights of
young people, in synergy with the General Assembly biennial resolution on
policies and programmes involving youth.  The panel to be organized during
the next Human Rights Council session would bring a valuable opportunity to
initiate reflection on this issue, with a view to contribute to unlocking the
full potential youth. 
 
Action on Resolution on Protection against Violence and Discrimination Based
on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

 
In a resolution (A/HRC/32/L.2/Rev.1) on protection against
violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity
,
adopted by a vote of 23 in favour, 18 against and 6 abstentions as amended, the
Council decides to appoint, for a period of three years, an Independent Expert
on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation
and gender identity, with the mandate to assess the implementation of existing
international human rights instruments with regard to ways to overcome violence
and discrimination against persons on the basis of their sexual orientation or
gender identity; raise awareness of violence and discrimination against persons
on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and to identify
and address the root causes of violence and discrimination; and engage in
dialogue and to consult with States and other relevant stakeholders.  The
Council also requests the Independent Expert to report annually to the Human
Rights Council, starting from its thirty-fifth session, and to the General
Assembly, starting from its seventy-second session.
 
The result of the vote was as follows:
 
In favour (23): Albania, Belgium, Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, France,
Georgia, Germany, Latvia, Mexico, Mongolia, Netherlands, Nigeria, Panama,
Portugal, Republic of Korea, Slovenia, Switzerland, The former Yugoslav
Republic of Macedonia, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland,
Venezuela, and Viet Nam.
 
Against (18): Algeria, Bangladesh, Burundi, China, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire,
Ethiopia, Indonesia, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Morocco, Namibia, Qatar,
Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Togo, and United Arab Emirates.
 
Abstentions (6): Botswana, Ghana, India, Maldives, Philippines, and South
Africa. 
 
Chile, introducing draft resolution L.2/Rev.1 on protection against violence
and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, recalled
that to date the Council had already endorsed this issue through two
resolutions.  The High Commissioner had issued a report underscoring the
need for a mechanism focusing specifically and comprehensively on this
matter.  The resolution aimed to fill this gap. 
 
Uruguay, also introducing draft resolution L.2/Rev.1, said that this type of
violence required a specific response from the Council, which was why the
resolution established a new mandate.  The Council was already dealing
with many types of violence and discrimination, and now needed to fill the gap
and ensure the protection against violence and discrimination on the ground of
sexual orientation and gender identity. 
 
Brazil, also introducing draft resolution L.2/Rev.1, said that this initiative
sought to promote much needed dialogue to put an end to violence and
discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation and gender identity, on the
basis of international human rights instruments and the Vienna Declaration and
Programme of Action.  The draft resolution had been translated in all
official languages of the United Nations, and broad consultations had been
conducted.  Brazil called on all delegations to vote in favour of this
text, and in favour of leaving no one behind. 
 
Action on No-Action Motion
 
Saudi Arabia took the floor on a point of order to request a no-action motion,
saying this was a last attempt to make co-sponsors understand the consequences
of this deeply divisive proposal that failed to recognize cultural
differences.  The draft was contrary to international human rights law and
would disregard the universality of human rights, Saudi Arabia said, calling on
the main co-sponsors to reconsider the consideration of this draft resolution.
 
The President said he would give the floor to two speakers for the no-action
motion and two speakers against it.
 
Mexico, taking the floor, on L.2/Rev.1, said that it opposed categorically the
non-action motion and asked that it be put to a vote.  Mexico deplored
countries which took refuge behind a procedural rule to prevent the Human
Rights Council from speaking on an initiative.  It was the responsibility
of the Council to openly address those situations which undermined human rights
around the world.  The international community might have diverging points
of view, but closing the dialogue should not be an option to hinder progress on
human rights protection.  The no-action motion made it impossible for the
Council to address those issues.  Voting for the motion was tantamount to
avoiding the responsibility that States had accepted when they became members
of the Council and it would ignore the suffering of thousands.  All were
encouraged to reaffirm their support for the mechanisms of the body they had
decided to be a part of.  Mexico called for the motion to be rejected.
 
Panama rejected the no-action motion and said that it was clear that what was
sought was an escape route.  It was imperative that the Council addressed
all forms of violence and discrimination against people.  All were called
on to vote against the no-action motion.
 
Bangladesh expressed support for the proposal made by Saudi Arabia.
 
Nigeria took the floor on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation,
with the exception of Albania, and spoke in favour of the no-action motion on
draft resolution L.2 as requested by Saudi Arabia.  The Organization of
Islamic Cooperation believed that the draft resolution L.2 was divisive and was
concerned that the lack of definitions of sexual orientation and gender
identity and the attached human rights and fundamental freedoms carried certain
responsibility for States.  The controversial views of those issues could
not be imposed by some Member States.  The adoption of the resolution
would ensure that the attention on sexual orientation and gender identity
issues as seen by the Western States would take root in the United Nations,
without taking into account the views of a large number of States.  
The draft resolution was highly divisive and would create rancour within the
Council which now should be focusing on its core agenda.
 
The Council rejected the no-action motion by a vote of 15 in favour, 22 against
and nine abstentions.
 
Action on Draft Amendments L.71 to L.81
 
Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the Member States of the Organization of
Islamic Cooperation except Albania, introduced amendments L.71 to L.81 to draft
resolution L.2/Rev.1, saying they strongly condemned any forms of violence and
discrimination against any individual or group, as illustrated by the
commitments of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation against racism and discrimination
and in favour of the right to development.  The Member States of the
Organization of Islamic Cooperation, except Albania, disagreed with the content
and concept of this resolution, and would not be able to support the
appointment of an Independent Expert on this issue.  The Council had to
respect each culture and its particularities.  This draft would further
polarize the work of the Council, and should therefore be avoided.  The
Member States of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, except Albania, were
therefore introducing amendments L.71 to L.81, which aimed to align the text
with universally agreed language, carefully crafted on the basis of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  Amendments also highlighted the
need to respect cultural, religious and traditional values, while underscoring
the negative effects of imposing values on others.  The amendments also
replaced the creation of the mandate with a request that the High Commissioner
prepare a report on violence and discrimination on grounds recognized within
the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.  The Organization of Islamic
Cooperation, except Albania, requested that these amendments were voted on in
four packages: first on L.71, L.72 and L.80, second on L.73, L.74, L.76, L.77
and L.79, third on L.78, and fourth on L.81.  The Organization called on
all Member States to vote in favour of these amendments. 
 
Mexico said that the main sponsors of the resolution did not support the
amendments and would call for a vote on them.  Mexico formally requested
that all amendments were voted on individually, one by one.  Delegations
had requested instructions from capitals one by one, and voting amendments in
packages might lead to an environment of a lack of clarity and misleading results. 
The sponsors should present the amendments individually and not as packages
when they had the opportunity.
 
The Council decided to vote on the amendments one by one.
 
Netherlands, speaking in a general comment on behalf of the European Union,
said the concept note on the establishment of the Independent Expert had been
much appreciated.  Civil society organizations had made it clear that the
issue needed to be addressed globally.  All societies, including the
European Union, faced challenges on this issue.  The European Union would
support L.2/Rev.1.
 
Saudi Arabia, speaking in a general comment, said that the universality of
human rights did not mean the imposition of certain so-called human rights
concepts or ideas imposed from the point of view of another party, when those
ran counter to some beliefs and specificities.  Protecting the
universality of human rights should not go beyond the main framework of human
rights and be used to interfere in the affairs of sovereign States.  The
draft resolution imposed a specific notion that ran counter to religions. 
Saudi Arabia would not compromise or barter man-made legislation against divine
laws.  Islam knew the true meaning of human rights.  The
international community had to refrain from using the Council to interfere in
the affairs of other sovereign States.  Such resolutions would compromise
the functioning of the Council.  All were called on to vote yes for the
amendments.
 
United Kingdom, speaking in a general comment, said that the resolution would create
a mandate to counter violence and discrimination and that a vote against it was
a vote against the spirit of this Council.  The United Kingdom noted that
cultural and religious reasons were often invoked to justify violence and
discrimination against individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation and
gender identity.  The resolution did not request States to change their
legislation or to recognize same-sex marriages; it was merely upholding the
principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guaranteed equal
rights to all human beings.  The United Kingdom urged upon all to vote for
this resolution to stop violence and discrimination.
 
Maldives, speaking in a general comment, said that the draft resolution was
divisive and endorsed the proposed amendments which sought to respect
international standards and ensure the protection of all persons around the
globe.
 
Qatar, speaking in a general comment, rejected violence and discrimination
against everyone and condemned the attempts to involve the Human Rights Council
in matters that did not enjoy consensus or were not part of international
instruments which Member States had ratified.  There were some practices
which might be acceptable by some people in some communities, but it did not
mean that they were acceptable in all communities and Qatar insisted on the
need to recognize religious and cultural diversity among States.
 
United Arab Emirates, speaking in a general comment, rejected the
instrumentalization of the Council and of human rights to impose concepts that
ran counter to international human rights instruments.  The United Arab
Emirates rejected all forms of violence and discrimination, but rejected this
concept as it was contrary to its cultural identity.  It called upon Members
of the Council to vote in favour of the amendments introduced by the
Organization of Islamic Cooperation. 
 
Maldives and Qatar took the floor to request that, should the amendments be
rejected, the Council should hold separate votes on some parts of the draft
resolution as follows: a vote on the title of the draft resolution, a vote on
the preambular paragraph 4, a vote on operational paragraph 2, and a vote on
operational paragraphs 3 to 7 altogether.
 
Action on L.71
 
Mexico, speaking on behalf of the core group of sponsors in an explanation of
the vote before the vote, said they wished to reject the amendment which tried
to transform the initiative into something else.  Modifying the title was
an attempt at changing the resolution.  Approving the amendment would
amount to erasing racism in a resolution on racism or the word albinism in a
resolution on albinism.  The sponsors of the amendment were undermining
all progress achieved in the field of discrimination, minorities, the rights of
women, and many more.  It would be a dangerous unintended consequence of
the amendment.  The Human Rights Council must not ignore human rights
violations against persons on the basis of their sexual or gender
identity.  All delegations were urged to vote no on the amendment.
 
Slovenia, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that people were
being discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation and gender
identity.  No country was immune to that problem.  It was the
responsibility of the Human Rights Council to address that specific grave and
widespread problem.  The Human Rights Council had already showed it could
step up to its role by addressing discrimination against people based on their
specific traits.
 
L.71 was rejected by a vote of 17 in favour, 18 against and 9 abstentions.
 
Action on L.72
 
Mexico, speaking on behalf of the core group of sponsors in an explanation of
the vote before the vote, strongly rejected amendment L.72 as it intended to change the objective and
focus of the draft resolution.  By removing a reference to the previous
resolutions of the Human Rights Council, including 17/19 and 27/31, it would
deny what the Council had already acknowledged in those texts: the existence of
widespread violence and discrimination against persons on the grounds of their
sexual orientation and gender identity.  The draft resolution specifically
built upon these Council resolutions.  Mexico called for a vote and called
upon all to vote against L.72
 
Switzerland, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that
Switzerland opposed any type of discrimination but the amendment only had one
objective: to delete a reference to previous Council resolutions, including
resolutions 17/19  and 27/32.  Switzerland could not support the
amendment. 
 
L.72 was rejected by a vote of 17 in favour, 18 against and 9 abstentions.
 
Action on L.73
 
Mexico, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on behalf of the
core group of sponsors, said that amendment L.73 was completely unacceptable because it
implied that the resolution as drafted was not objective and was confrontational. 
It was exactly the opposite.  The draft resolution aimed at promoting
dialogue and understanding, and had been motivated by the fact that more than
100 States from all regions had, in the context of the Universal Periodic
Review, committed to address violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual
violation and gender identity.  Mexico called on all Member States to vote
against this draft amendment.
 
Germany, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that this
amendment was not discussed or presented during negotiations.  It was
vague and unclear, and implied that the co-sponsors were confrontational when
they had, on the contrary, opened negotiations to all. 
 
L.73 was adopted by a vote of 24 in favour, 17 against and 4 abstentions. 
By this vote, after the fourth preambular paragraph, a new paragraph will be
inserted reading: Stressing the need to maintain joint ownership of the
international human rights agenda and to consider human rights issues in an
objective and non-confrontational manner. 
 
Action on L.74
 
Mexico, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on behalf of the
core group of sponsors, said the sponsors were strongly committed to the fight
against all forms of intolerance and discrimination.  Among the different
forms of intolerance and discrimination was that suffered by those on the basis
of their sexual orientation and gender identity.  Mexico expressed concern
that the purpose of amendment L.74 was to bring confusion into the discussion
and deviate from the focus of the initiative.  All were called on to vote
“no” on the amendment.
 
Panama, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that this
amendment was out of place.  It was clear that it undermined the scope and
force of the resolution before the Human Rights Council.  Panama insisted
that the Council address all human rights violations or it would be sending a
negative message to all people that the Council was not capable of providing
all people without distinction with protection from human rights violations.
 
 
L.74 was adopted by a vote of 23 in favour, 17 against and 5 abstentions. 

By this vote, after the fourth preambular paragraph,  a new paragraphwill
be inserted reading: Undertaking to support its broad and balanced agenda, and
to strengthen the mechanisms addressing issues of importance, including
fighting racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance in
all their forms,
 
Action on L.75
 
Mexico, speaking on behalf of the core group of sponsors in an explanation of
the vote before the vote, strongly rejected the proposed amendment because it
misquoted the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action.  The
international community must treat all human rights equally, and the core group
reminded of the duty of States to promote and protect all human rights and
fundamental freedoms.  By rejecting L.75 the Council members would promote
universality of human rights.  
 
Netherlands, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that
after long discussions in Vienna during the World Conference, all delegations
had united on the formula that was now found in article 5 of the Vienna
Declaration and Programme of Action, which recognized the importance of
national and regional particularities and various historical, cultural and
religious backgrounds.  It was the duty of States, regardless of
their political, economic or cultural systems, to promote and protect all human
rights and fundamental freedoms.  This was the common standard that the
States had set and the mere fact that certain practices had a long history could
not be the basis for acceptance.  Governments must prevent violence and
discrimination against all people no matter their sexual orientation or gender
identity; there was no claim of special group rights.
 
L.75 was adopted by a vote of 20 in favour, 18 against and 6 abstentions.
By that vote, after the fourth preambular paragraph , a new paragraph will be
inserted which should read: Reiterating the importance of respecting regional,
cultural and religious value systems as well as particularities in considering
human rights issues,
 
Action on Draft Amendment L.76
 
Mexico, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on behalf of the
core group of sponsors, said that the Vienna Declaration and Programme of
Action, in 1993, had recognized States’ duty to promote all human rights,
regardless of their political, economic and cultural systems.  Any attempt
to reinterpret this principle had to be strongly rejected.  All people had
an equal right to live free from violence and discrimination.  Failure to
uphold the human rights of all people and protect them against discrimination
or violence constituted a serious violation of international human rights
law. 
 
Slovenia, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that
each State had the right to a cultural identity.  However, human rights
and freedoms belonged to all individuals.  Human rights and fundamental
freedoms could not be subjected to selective recognition or protection. 
Slovenia called upon all Members of the Human Rights Council to vote against
this draft amendment. 
 
L.76 was adopted by a vote of 21 in favour, 17 against and 7 abstentions.
 By this vote, after the fourth preambular paragraph, a new paragraph will
be insertedreading:           Underlining
the fundamental importance of respecting relevant domestic debates at the
national level on matters associated with historical, cultural, social and
religious sensitivities,
 
Action on L.77
 
Mexico, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on behalf of the
core group of sponsors, said that the amendment misleadingly tried to introduce
the false idea that the resolution tried to use economic sanctions and coercive
measures to undermine the authority of States to determine and influence their
own decision-making processes.  The proposed amendment damaged the goal of
addressing the violence and discrimination that millions of persons around the
world suffered on a daily basis.
 
Switzerland, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that
the amendment introduced a false idea about the resolution.  The argument of
sovereignty was not valid.  The heart of resolution L2/Rev.1 was to recall
the right to non-discrimination for all individuals.  Switzerland would
vote against and urged all to do likewise.
 
United Kingdom, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it
was the country’s opinion that the paragraph contained in the amendment had no
place in the text.  The resolution was about stopping violence and
discrimination.  The United Kingdom had a longstanding tradition to reject
such coercive measures at the Human Rights Council.
 
L.77 was adopted by a vote of 23 in favour, 18 against and 4 abstentions. 
By this vote, after the fourth preambular paragraph, a new paragraphwill be
inserted reading: Deploring the use of external pressures and coercive measures
against States, particularly developing countries, including through the use
and threat of use of economic sanctions and/or application of conditionality on
official development assistance, with the aim of influencing the relevant
domestic debates and decision-making processes at the national level,
 
Action on L.78
 
Mexico, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on behalf of the
core group of sponsors, said they rejected this amendment, which affirmed that
the main sponsors were trying to impose notions or concepts pertaining to
social matters.  The objective of the draft resolution L.2/Rev.1 was the
opposite.  Violence and discrimination were not private matters; they were
public issues that threatened the society as a whole.  Moreover, the
amendment was an offense against the victims of violence, discrimination and
abuse suffered by thousands of people all over the world because of their sexual
orientation or gender equality. 
 
Netherland, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, opposed
this draft amendment.  The Universal Declaration on Human Rights’ spirit
was to address violence and discrimination on whatever factor.  The list
it contained was open-ended.  Every time people invented a reason to use
violence or to discriminate against persons for a specific factor, the
international community had to respond.  
 
United Kingdom, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said
that the universality of human rights was enshrined in the Universal
Declaration on Human Rights.  The Council had the mandate to address human
rights for all people, without distinction of any kind.  The issue of
sexual orientation or gender identity did not fall outside of this
international framework.  The United Kingdom urged the Council’s Member
States to vote against this amendment. 
 
The Council then adopted draft amendment L.78 by a vote of 17 in favour, 18
against, with 9 abstentions.  By this vote, after the fourth preambular
paragraph, a new paragraphwill be inserted reading: Concerned by any attempt to
undermine the international human rights system by seeking to impose concepts
or notions pertaining to social matters, including private individual conduct,
that fall outside the internationally agreed human rights legal framework, and
taking into account that such attempts constitute an expression of disregard
for the universality of human rights,
 
Action on L.79
 
Mexico, speaking on behalf of the core group of sponsors in an explanation of
the vote before the vote, said they rejected the amendment and recalled that
everyone was entitled to all rights and freedoms recognised in the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, without distinction of any kind.  The
amendment placed national sovereignty and cultural relativism over the
universality of human rights.  Human rights were universal and allegations
of national sovereignty should not be invoked to perpetrate human rights
violations.  States could not hide themselves under their sovereignty,
national laws, development priorities or religious or ethical values in order
not to respect human rights.
 
Panama, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, rejected the
draft amendment that imposed specific values above the norms of human rights
using sovereignty as a pretext.  All were born equal and free in rights
and those with different sexual orientation and gender identity had those same
rights.  The adoption of the draft amendment would be a denial of the
mandate of the Council to protect and promote human rights of all without
distinction.
 
United Kingdom, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, opposed
the draft amendment and said that the appropriate balance between cultural and
religious values and universal human rights was set in article 5 of the Vienna
Declaration and Programme of Action and had been adequately addressed by the
draft resolution.  The proposed amendment was also incomplete and
confusing and the United Kingdom called on members to vote against it.
 
Netherlands, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, opposed
the draft amendment and said that the Vienna Declaration and Programme of
Action had already established that the universality of human rights drummed
particularities; sovereignty and national legislation must be tested against
international obligations.   
 
The Council then adopted draft amendment L.79 by a vote of 22 in favour, 17
against and 5 abstentions.   By this vote, after the fourth
preambular paragraph, a new paragraph will be inserted reading: Underlining
that the present resolution should be implemented while ensuring respect for
the sovereign right of each country as well as its national laws, development
priorities, the various religious and ethical values and cultural backgrounds
of its people, and should also be in full conformity with universally
recognized international human rights,
 
Action on L.80
 
Mexico, speaking on behalf of the core group of sponsors in an explanation of
the vote before the vote, said they rejected the proposed amendment because it
sought to transform the draft resolution into a statement of such generality
that lost the original focus and purpose.  It would make the resolution
irrelevant considering that the overall protection was provided under the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  The amendment failed to identify
serious and systematic violations affecting people because of their sexual
orientation and gender identity.  The proposed amendment was contrary to
the common condemnation of the recent killings in Orlando.
 
Switzerland, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, stated
that L.80 weakened the original draft resolution, especially the negative
consideration of violations committed against individuals because of their
sexual orientation and gender identity.  The worldwide situation was
serious enough to justify the use of the word “strongly” in the beginning of
the paragraph.  The goal of the draft resolution was to protect human
rights, rather than a matter of calling for specific rights.  It aimed to
highlight that there were victims of specific violations and to avoid making
those persons invisible. 
 
United Kingdom, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, opposed
the proposed amendment L.80 which sought to transform the draft resolution in a
way that would not deplore the violence committed against people of different
sexual and gender identity.  In view of the Orlando killings, the Council
would send a discouraging message to the world if it adopted the amendment.
 
The Council then rejected the amendment L.80 with a vote of 16 in favour, 20 against,
and 8 abstentions. 
 
Action on L.81
 
Mexico, speaking on behalf of the core group of sponsors in an explanation of
the vote before the vote, said they strongly rejected in the most unequivocal
terms the draft amendment which was an attack on the heart of the resolution:
it completely rewrote the resolution, deleting six paragraphs, striping all references
to sexual orientation and gender identity, and eliminating the creation of a
mechanism of Independent Expert.  The amendment would fundamentally alter
the nature and goal of the draft resolution.  The report of the High
Commissioner for Human Rights claimed that current arrangements to protect the
human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons were
inadequate and Mexico stressed that this protection gap urgently needed to be
addressed.  Preventing systematic attention to issues of sexual
orientation and gender identity would not reduce polarization.  The core
group urged all delegations to vote against the proposed amendment and give
hope and dignity to millions.
 
United Kingdom, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said
that the amendment sought to remove all references to the main issues of the
draft resolution: violence and discrimination against individuals because of
their sexual orientation and gender identify.  By accepting this
amendment, States were condoning violence, which could include death. 
Tragically, there had been reports of gay men being attacked and beaten simply
for supporting the victims of the Orlando attack.  This should not be a
North-South issue, many southern countries had taken leadership on the
issue.  The amendment sought to remove protection from those who needed it
the most.  The resolution would facilitate dialogue and would fill the
protection gap for some of the most vulnerable individuals.
 
Switzerland, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said
Switzerland would vote against the proposed amendment which was completely
unacceptable because it sought to make completely invisible the people who
suffered violence and discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation
and gender identity.
 
Russian Federation, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote,
supported draft amendment L.81.  Introducing new grounds for
discrimination would only cause problems and confrontation within the Council,
and would not contribute to joint efforts by the international community to
promote and protect human rights.  Russia called on all Member States to
vote in favour of this draft amendment. 
 
Netherlands, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, completely
opposed this amendment, and did not agree that concepts of discrimination or
violence on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity were
introduced by the co-sponsors.  These concepts were introduced by the
perpetrators of such discrimination or violence, and deserved specific
attention from the Council and from an Independent Expert.  This issue had
to be addressed nationally and internationally. 
 
The Council then rejected draft amendment L.81 by a vote of 17 in favour, 19 against,
with 8 abstentions. 
 
Action on the Title of Draft Resolution L.2/Rev.1
 
Mexico, speaking on behalf of the core group of sponsors in an explanation of
the vote before the vote, said that all those supporting the original draft
were urged to vote in favour of the current title.
 
United Kingdom, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote,
explained that the title focused on violence and discrimination, which were key
to the text of the resolution.  Everyone was entitled to all the rights
and freedoms set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights without
distinction of any kind.  Violence and discrimination based on sexual
orientation had no place at the United Nations.
 
Nigeria, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, called on all
those who voted against the amendments to kindly consider that the title of the
draft resolution was very misleading.  The whole idea of the draft
resolution was to appoint an Independent Expert. 
 
Switzerland, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, shared the
confusion of the Mexican delegation regarding the call for the vote on the
title of the draft resolution.  The title reflected the overall aim of the
draft resolution. 
 
The Council then adopted the title of the draft resolution L.2/Rev.1 with a
vote of 22 in favour, 15 against, and eight abstentions.
 
Action on Preambular Paragraph 4
 
Mexico, speaking on behalf of the core group of sponsors in an explanation of
the vote before the vote, urged all Member States to vote in favour of
retaining preambular paragraph 4 in the draft resolution. 
 
Switzerland, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, supported
retaining this paragraph as well, and urged all delegations to do the
same. 
 
United Kingdom, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that this
paragraph was important to contextualize the mandate of the Independent Expert
by referring to previous Council resolutions on this issue. 
 
By a vote of 21 in favour, 14 against, with nine abstentions, the Council
decided to retain preambular paragraph 4 in draft resolution L.2/Rev.1.
 
Action on Operative Paragraph 2
 
Mexico, speaking on behalf of the core group of sponsors in an explanation of
the vote before the vote, repeated that those supporting the original draft
resolution should vote in favour of retaining operative paragraph 2. 
 
United Kingdom, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said
that voting against operative paragraph 2 would mean that the Human Rights
Council would condone violence against persons because of their sexual
orientation and gender identity.  It would say to those individuals that
such violence was justified and that it mattered less than other forms of
violence. 
 
Switzerland, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it
would vote in favour of operative paragraph 2 because it described a factual
situation.  It was important to render that category of discrimination
visible.  It urged all Member States to do the same. 
 
The Council then adopted operative paragraph 2 with a vote of 23 in favour, 14
against, and 8 abstentions. 
 
Separate Action on Operative Paragraphs 3 to 7
 
Mexico, speaking on behalf of the core group of sponsors in an explanation of
the vote before the vote, said that operative paragraphs 3 to 7 were the heart
of the resolution.  This vote was an attempt to reintroduce amendments
that had already been defeated.  It called on all delegations to vote in
favour of retaining these paragraphs. 
 
United Kingdom, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said
that these paragraphs were fundamental to the resolution.  Voting against
them would vote against the spirit of the resolution.  These paragraphs
did not seek to impose values, and they did not refer to same-sex
marriage.  Discrimination and violence had to stop, and the United Nations
should engage towards that goal.  The United Kingdom urged all States to
vote in favour of maintaining operative paragraphs 3 to 7.
 
Russian Federation, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote,
said that the establishment of this Special Procedure with such a
confrontational approach would mean the end of dialogue within the
Council.  This mandate would have unclear powers, and unclear terms of
reference.  Its establishment would not lead to additional protection for
millions of people, it would just lead to a waste of the resources of the
United Nations.  The Russian Federation would vote against retaining these
paragraphs, and called on all delegations to do the same. 
 
Saudi Arabia, speaking in an explanation of vote before the vote, said that the
concepts of sexual orientation or gender identity were not recognized under
international law, and were unclear.  Adopting these paragraphs would open
a Pandora ’s Box against Governments and individuals over rights that did not
enjoy consensus.  This would only create further division within the
United Nations.  This issue should be left for States to decide, not the
United Nations. 
 
Switzerland, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that
in light of what had just been said, an Independent Expert would contribute to
clarifying those concepts.  It supported retaining these paragraphs. 

 
With a vote of 21 in favour, 17 against, with 7 abstentions, the Council
decided to retain operational paragraphs 3 to 7 within draft resolution
L.2/Rev.1. 
 
Action on Draft Resolution L.2/Rev.1
 
Mexico, speaking on behalf of the core group of sponsors in an explanation of
the vote before the vote, noted that many proposed amendments would have gone
against the purpose of the draft resolution.  Fortunately, they had been
rejected.  The main objective still stood, which was the appointment of an
Independent Expert; the main purpose would be fulfilled even if the draft
resolution was amended.  Mexico urged all Member States to be consistent
and to vote in favour of the draft resolution in order to give hope to millions
of persons.
 
Philippines, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, stated
that it was its practice to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms for
all.  It had stood against discrimination based on sexual orientation and
gender identity.  However, a human rights mandate holder specific to lesbian,
gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex rights would run counter to the
universality of human rights.  Philippines expressed hope that this would
not derogate the rights of States and impinge on their sovereignty.  The
creation of a mandate holder would apply a set of rules specific to a certain
sector on which there was no international agreement.  Thus, the
Philippines would abstain on the draft resolution.
 
Russian Federation, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote,
said that authorities in Russia carefully investigated and prosecuted all cases
of violence and discrimination.  Elements of private life were deeply
individual choices, and they did not need a particular system of
protection.  International law, and national law in Russia, was extended
in all areas equally, including women, ethnic or religious minorities or
homosexuals.  The Russian Federation noted that many thousands of years of
development was carried out by those who did not make such a private choice,
and the Russian Federation regretted that the co-sponsors of this resolution
were trying to prevent others from defending their own views.  The Russian
Federation would vote against the creation of this mandate, and should it be
established nonetheless, it would not cooperate with it. 
 
Saudi Arabia, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that
this draft resolution went contrary to its sacred values.  It sought to
impose issues that were prohibited by Saudi Arabia’s religion.  This had
nothing to do with discrimination or violence.  The adoption of this
mandate holder would lead to discussions on controversial issues that the
Council would never be in a position to impose on Saudi Arabia.  Saudi
Arabia would vote against this text, and would not cooperate with the
Independent Expert. 
 
South Africa, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, noted
that no person should be subjected to discrimination or violence on any ground,
including on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.  South
Africa’s approach to the protection of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and
intersex persons was focusing on maximum unity within the Council.  The
draft resolution added unnecessary divisiveness, building on the previous
African initiative of 2012.  It was an arrogant approach. 
Recklessness and point scoring would not take anyone anywhere.  South
Africa could not support the resolution as it stood and would thus abstain.
 
Botswana, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, noted that
its Constitution did not condone violence against any person.  It had to
be noted, however, that at the international level there was no accepted
terminology on gender identity and sexual orientation.  In that regard, it
was important to respect local cultural, religious and historic circumstances
and values. 
 
Nigeria, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, observed that
the draft resolution had a lot of defects in substance and form.  States
had the right to make laws for the good governance of their people.  That
right could not be hijacked by other States to impose offensive
practices.  The selection of mandate holders had to be transparent. 
However, the procedure building up to the draft resolution had not been transparent. 
The Council was not yet ready for an Independent Expert on gender identity and
sexual orientation as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex rights
did not enjoy the kind of general acceptance necessary for their adoption as
universally accepted rights.  For those reasons Nigeria would vote against
the draft resolution.
 
Viet Nam, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, welcomed
efforts to combat violence and discrimination, and would vote in favour of the
draft resolution.  Viet Nam stressed that the mandate holder endorsed in
the draft should discharge his or her duty strictly in line with the code of
conduct.  Differences among societies had to be respected.  That was
the principle under which Viet Nam had voted on the amendments.
 
Indonesia, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, reaffirmed
its commitment to the elimination of violence against all persons as defined in
international human rights treaties.  The Council should take a
constructive and cooperative approach, especially when concerned with issues
touching on morality.  Members of the Council should refrain from imposing
values which did not enjoy international consensus.  Indonesia was
concerned that the draft resolution was divisive.  While welcoming several
amendments, Indonesia considered that the basic proposal remained the same, and
for that reason was unable to support the draft resolution.  Indonesia
also wanted it put on the record that Indonesia would not engage with the
mandate holder.
 
Albania, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, commended the
leadership of the core group protesting against violence based on sexual
orientation and gender identity.  Violence against any individual was
condemned, and the inherent dignity of all individuals should be upheld. 
The protection from violence of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and
intersex persons was a priority for the Albanian Government.  The aim of
the draft resolution was to appoint a Special Procedure mandate holder, who could
work on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual
orientation and gender identity.  The current text of the resolution did
not seek to create any new rights, but affirmed the application of existing
human rights standards.
 
France, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that it
did not subscribe to the amendments brought to the text, which were contrary to
the universality of human rights.  France would vote in favour of the
text, which was useful to enhance the fight against violence or discrimination
on the ground of sexual orientation and gender equality. 
 
Morocco, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, regretted that
the draft was dividing the Council, when the tenth anniversary of the Council
should have been an opportunity to promote consensus.  This text ran
against the beliefs of more than 1.5 billion people in the world.  Islam
was a religion of non-violence, and Morocco had made great commitments in that
regard.  But today it was forced to call on all States to vote against
this text, in order to support those outside the United Nations who expected
the Council to protect their culture and values.  
 
Algeria, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, reiterated its
opposition to all types of violence or discrimination.  However, it
believed that it was not useful to impose values upon others.  Sexual
orientation was a private matter, and Algeria rejected appointing a mandate
holder on this issue.
 
Ghana, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, reminded that in
2013 the African Commission on Human Rights had adopted  a resolution on
the protection against violence and other human rights violations on the basis
of gender identity.  It was adopted against the background of alarming
human rights violations against individuals because of their sexual orientation
and gender identity.  The current discussion was taking place against the
background of the Orlando killings.  The laws of Ghana would not permit
any individual to be persecuted because of their sexual orientation. 
However, the matter was culturally very sensitive in Ghana.  Ghana
supported those who were naturally inclined to have a different sexual
orientation, but it did not accept the propagation or commercialization of
it.  It would therefore abstain.

Namibia,
speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, opposed any violence
against individuals based on sexual orientation and gender identity.  All
persons in Namibia were equal under law.  Lesbian, gay, bisexual,
transgender and intersex persons were able to participate in government
services.  However, there was no internationally agreed definition of
sexual orientation and gender identity, which left a lacuna in law.  Namibia
was concerned about the mandate of the Independent Expert and thus it would
abstain.
 
United Kingdom, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said
that although the resolution had been amended, its fundamental aim had been
retained.  The draft resolution did not ask countries to change their
legislation.  It urged States to vote in favour of the draft resolution in
order to protect some of the most vulnerable persons in society.  It would
give hope to many people around the world.  A vote in favour would be a
vote of solidarity for the countless victims of discrimination around the
world.
 
Netherlands, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, expressed
gratitude to the sponsors for their thoughtful concept note.  The
Netherlands did not believe that the international community had to wait for
absolute unity.  It was important not to fail persons who belonged to
minorities.  The Netherlands had not supported the inclusion of a number
of preambular paragraphs.  If one looked at the package, universality
still prevailed, and that remained the Netherlands’ perspective.
 
The Council then adopted resolution L.2/Rev.1 by a vote of 23 in favour, 18
against and six abstentions.

 

 

 
The Council then adopted resolution L.2/Rev.1 by a vote of 23 in favour, 18 against and six abstentions.

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