An effort to suspend the work of a new
United Nations office to investigate and report on violence and
discrimination against sexual minorities failed on Monday.
Members of the United Nations Human
Rights Council narrowly (23-18) approved creation of the office in
African states led by Botswana had
called on the General Assembly's human rights committee to delay
creation of the office. On September 30, Vitit Muntarbhorn of
Thailand was appointed as the office's first expert. The African
states also sought to suspend Muntarbhorn's activities.
After removing language introduced by
the African states, the amendment cleared the committee with a 94-3
vote with 80 abstentions, the
A final vote in the General Assembly is
expected to take place next month.
Charles Ntwaagae, Botswana's ambassador
to the UN, reiterated Africa's opposition, saying that the Human
Rights Council was ignoring race- and religion-based discrimination
while focusing on people's “sexual interests and behaviors.”