global challenge

India abstains at UN vote on protecting LGBT rights


The Human Rights Council of the United Nations on Friday in Geneva adopted measures to deal with violations of LGBT rights amid a strong opposition from many member states, especially from African and Muslim majority countries.

India, meanwhile, abstained from voting, a move which has drawn the ire of activists of the LGBT rights in the country.

External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup defended India's decision citing an ongoing Supreme Court case against Victorian-era law Section 377, which criminalises same-sex relationship.

"The issue of LGBT rights in India is a matter being considered by the SC under a batch of curative petitions filed by various institutions and organisations. The SC is yet to pronounce on this issue,” he said.

"As such we had to take this into account in terms of our vote on the the UN resolution to institutionalise the office of an independent expert to prevent discrimination against the LGBT persons," Swarup told reporters.

The 47-member UN's main human rights body has voted to appoint to an independent expert to monitor and document cases of violence against individuals on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The initiative faced much resistance led by China, African and Muslim countries. The resolution supported by Latin America and West was passed by a narrow margin, 23 to 18, with six abstains, including India.

The resolution comes in the wake of the deadly US hooting at Orlando gay bar, where at least 50 people were killed by Omar Mateen, who said have nurtured a strong hatred against gay people.

The US shooting also triggered an online backlash against the Modi government.

Prime Minister Modi was criticised for condoling the deaths of the Orlando victims. The web users claimed that the members of the LGBTQ community are living in an unsafe environment in the country under the BJP government.

In spite of growing support for decriminalising of same sex relationship, India is yet to strike down the colonial-era law.

The political leaders from the ruling and the Opposition are divided over the issue. While some root for decriminalisation of gay sex, some call homosexuality a “genetic disease.” With no backing of the judiciary or the government, members of the LGBT community live under a constant fear of violence by right-wing activists and legal action.

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Topics : #LGBT | #United Nations

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