United Nations votes to create first ever LGBT rights watchdog

The United Nations (UN) today voted to create its first ever LGBT rights watchdog.

Passed with 23 votes to 18, with 6 abstentions, the measure ensures that an appointed member will monitor “violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”

The “independent expert” will be the first ever person to be appointed to such a role within the UN.

Language used in the resolution suggests that LGBT rights should be the concern of human rights laws across the world.

Previously the UN has voted on two resolutions for LGBT rights, but those passed only to urge the organisation to prepare reports specifically about LGBT issues.

The UN has previously only rarely mentioned LGBT issues, and last year the UN Security Council made history by addressing such issues for the first time.

A meeting, behind closed doors, was addressed by a Syrian refugee who escaped threats from ISIS. 

More recently the Security Council issued a press statement condemning the mass shooting at Orlando’s Pulse gay club. 

Pakistan led opposition to Thursday’s resolution on behalf of the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation (OIC), leading to several amendments suggesting that it “impose[d] concepts or notions pertaining to social matters, including private individual conduct.”

The country also suggested that “coercive measures” were being used to change individual nations’ laws, and claimed “religious sensitivities” as reasons for opposing.

It is noted that South Africa decided to abstain on the resolution despite having sponsored LGBT rights resolutions in the past.

The representative from South Africa suggested that the sponsors of the resolution used an “arrogant and confrontational” approach.