GENEVA, Switzerland, Jul 1 – The 32nd session of the UN Human Rights Council on its 10th anniversary adopted a key resolution to protect and promote rights of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgender (LGBT).
The important and most controversial resolution on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity was adopted to pave way for the appointment of an Independent Expert to investigate LGBT rights abuses.
The Human Rights Council Reaffirmed; “that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”
Under the stewardship of Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay and Chile, the controversial resolution was adopted despite opposition from a proposal seeking to protect the family unit.
The expert who will submit the first report to the Human Rights Council, from its thirty-fifth session, will be expected to fast-track the implementation of existing international human rights with a view of exploring how violence and discrimination against people on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
The expert will further investigate causes of such discrimination and suggest ways of addressing them at the same time use the position to create awareness of rights of people in spite their sexual orientation.
23 countries voted in favour of the motion whereas 18 countries including Kenya, Ethiopia, Burundi, Namibia and United Arab Emirates opposed.
Botswana, Ghana and South Africa were among the six countries that abstained, an illustration of place LGBT have in the African continent.
Whereas many LGBT flee from Uganda to hide in Kenya, it has never been a safe haven for them since LGBT in Kenya face similar discrimination and rejection.
According to Human Rights Watch, about six LGBT have been attacked since 2008 but there have been no investigations lodged.
Though physical harm against any individuals is not tolerated, the Kenyan law illegalises LGBT under articles 162, 163 and 165.
They prohibit homosexuality and term it as an offence that is punishable from five to 14 years imprisonment.
It also criminalises same sex marriages and adoption of children by same sex couples.
Despite pressure and campaigns by LGBT, the Kenyan society remains one of the most intolerant in understanding how people can have same sex relations which furthermore, they use the bible to condemn.
Most of the LGBT living in Kenya say they have never found peace from the moment they declared their sexual orientations.
Such complaints raised by LGBT and human rights defenders from various parts of the country topped the 32nd UN Human Rights Council that finally ended up adopting the resolution to appoint an expert to investigate and provide ways in which countries can respect rights of people despite their sexual orientations.