GA / LGBT

22-Nov-2016 00:02:43
A group of the UN General Assembly (GA) member states Monday attempted to block the creation of the mandate of an Independent Expert to tackle violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. UNIFEED
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STORY: GA / LGBT
TRT: 2:43
SOURCE: UNIFEED
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / RUSSIAN / NATS

DATELINE: 21 NOVEMBER 2016, NEW YORK CITY / RECENT
SHOTLIST
RECENT – NEW YORK CITY

1 Wide shot, exterior UN Headquarters

21 NOVEMBER 2016, NEW YORK CITY

2. Wide shot, conference room
3. Wide shot, screen showing votes results
4. Close up, votes results
5. Med shot, chairperson reading the results
6. Wide shot, conference room
7. Wide shot, screen showing votes results
8. Close up, votes results
9. Med shot, chairperson reading the results
10. Wide shot, conference room
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Ambassador Charles Ntwaagae, Permanent Representative of Botswana to the United Nations:
“The African Group is therefore wondering which international legal instrument defines the concept of sexual orientation and gender identity for which reason we are being told to support this amendment. Madame chair, the honest truth remains that this notions are not enshrined in any international human rights instrument. With no definitional basis in any international law instrument the African Group is of the view that the mandate of the independent expert lacks the necessary specificity to be carried out fairly.”
12. Wide shot, meeting room
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Ambassador Charles Ntwaagae, Permanent Representative of Botswana to the United Nations:
“No nation or group of nations should pretend to hold the monopoly of cultural norms and therefore seek to impose those values on others.”
14. Wide shot, conference room
15. SOUNDBITE (English) Mohamed Moussa, Third Committee Officer, Egypt:
“The OIC Group unequivocally rejects the establishment of the mandate of an independent expert through this resolution. We believe this resolution taking notes of the report is highly divisive and aims to impose a set of values on the world, which does not enjoy international consensus.”
16. Wide shot, conference room
17. SOUNDBITE (Russian) Representative of the Russian Federation:
“The notion of sexual orientation and gender identity is one that does not exist in international law therefore some well-founded questions arise in this regard: what legal norms should guide the independent expert in carrying out his or her mandate?”
18. Wide shot, conference room
STORYLINE
A group of the United Nations General Assembly (GA) member states Monday (21 Nov) attempted to block the creation of the mandate of an Independent Expert to tackle violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The African States of the GA’s Committee that deals with social, humanitarian and cultural issues –the Third Committee- pushed a draft resolution requesting to postpone and questioning the creation of the new mandate.

However, the draft resolution was amended by western countries and approved it with 84 votes in favor, 77 against and 17 abstentions. The amended draft resolution, which does not modify the work of the new independent expert on sexual orientation and gender identity, was then adopted by the third committee with 94 votes in favor, three against and 80 abstentions.

The new mandate came into effect on 1 November 2016, with Vitit Muntarbhorn named as the first UN Independent Expert on the Protection against Violence and Discrimination based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.

Representing the African Group, Botswana’s ambassador Charles Ntwaage, asked delegates “which international legal instrument defines the concept of sexual orientation and gender identity for which reason we are being told to support this amendment.”

He pointed out “the honest truth remains that this notions are not enshrined in any international human rights instrument. With no definitional basis in any international law instrument the African Group is of the view that the mandate of the independent expert lacks the necessary specificity to be carried out fairly.”

Ntwaage added, “No nation or group of nations should pretend to hold the monopoly of cultural norms and therefore seek to impose those values on others.”

Speaking on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the Egyptian representative Mohamed Moussa said “the OIC Group unequivocally rejects the establishment of the mandate of an independent expert through this resolution. We believe this resolution taking notes of the report is highly divisive and aims to impose a set of values on the world, which does not enjoy international consensus.”

For her part, the Russian representative said “the notion of sexual orientation and gender identity is one that does not exist in international law therefore some well-founded questions arise in this regard: what legal norms should guide the independent expert in carrying out his or her mandate?”

The vote will be finalized by the 193 member General Assembly in December. According to the United Nations, homosexuality is still a crime in 73 countries.
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