U.N. Committee Again Rejects Motion to Suspend LGBT Watchdog

A U.N. committee on Monday, December 19, 2016 once again rejected efforts to suspend the organization’s first-ever LGBT rights watchdog.

The U.S. was among the 84 countries that voted against the motion. Seventy-seven countries backed it, while 16 countries abstained from the vote.

“The U.N. General Assembly vote makes clear that no one should be subjected to discrimination and violence on any grounds,” OutRight Action International Executive Director Jessica Stern told in a statement. “We congratulate the many states, national human rights institutions, and civil society organizations that worked to ensure that the universal human rights system would be upheld. Today was a victory for human rights.”

The U.N. Human Rights Council earlier this year approved a resolution that created the position. Vitit Muntarbhorn, an international law professor at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, has held it since the fall.

Botswana and other African countries last month introduced a resolution that sought to suspend Muntarbhorn until the U.N. could debate the “legal basis” of his mandate. It failed by an 84-77 vote margin.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power acknowledged Monday’s vote on her Twitter page.

ILGA Co-Secretaries General Helen Kennedy and Ruth Baldacchino in a statement said they are “delighted that the mandate has once again been safeguarded.”

“Once more, states have reaffirmed the importance of monitoring human rights violations against people on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity, a crucial leap towards a world where all are treated free and equal,” they said.