UN appoints Vitit to protect LGBT rights worldwide


epa05527234 Mr Vitit Muntarbhorn, Member of the Independent Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic speaks on 06 September 2016, during the launch of 12th report of the Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic to the Human Rights Council covering the period between 10 January and 20 July 2016. 06 September 2016. EPA/MAGALI GIRARDIN

LONDON: The UN Human Rights Council appointed Vitit Muntar­bhorn (pic) as its first independent investigator to safeguard the rights of homosexual and transgender community across the world amid strong objections by Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries.

The first independent investigator’s main job will be to help protect homosexual and transgender people worldwide from violence and discrimination.

The UN expert Vitit will have a three-year mandate to investigate abuses against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBT) people.

Vitit 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 UN 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 favour and 18 against, with six abstentions.

Human Rights Watch welcomed Friday’s appointment, saying the UN council “made history.”

“This critical mandate will bring much-needed attention to human rights violations against LGBT people in all regions of the world,” said John Fisher, the group’s director in Geneva.

The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Asso­ciation (ILGA) said the newly created role was critical to give justice to LGBT people who have been attacked, abused or discriminated against. — The Nation / Asia News Network

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