The Human Rights Council has appointed international human rights expert Vitit Muntarbhorn of Thailand as the first UN independent expert charged with investigating violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
John Fisher, Geneva director of Human Rights Watch, said his appointment on Friday “made history” and “will bring much-needed attention to human rights violations against LGBT people in all regions of the world.”
UN appoints first independent investigator to protect LGBT people from violence
‘This critical mandate will bring much-needed attention to human rights violations against LGBT people’
The UN Human Rights Council has appointed its first independent investigator to help protect homosexual and transgender people worldwide from violence and discrimination.
The United Nations expert Vitit Muntarbhorn will have a three-year mandate to investigate abuses against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people.
Mr Muntarbhorn is an international law professor at the Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand, and has served on several UN bodies, including inquiries on Syria and as a special rapporteur on North Korea.
The U.N. agreed on the new role in June, after the 47-member council overcame strong objections by Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries to adopt a Western-backed resolution by a vote of 23 states in favor and 18 against with six abstentions.
Human Rights Watch welcomed Friday’s appointment, saying the U.N. council “made history.”
“This critical mandate will bring much-needed attention to human rights violations against LGBT people in all regions of the world,” John Fisher, the group’s director in Geneva, said in a statement.
The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) said the newly created role was critical to give justice to LGBTI people who have been attacked, abused or discriminated against.
“Never has there been a more urgent need to safeguard the human rights of LGBTI persons around the world,” executive director of ILGA, Renato Sabbadini, said in a statement to the Thomson Reuters Foundation.