In June, the U.N. appointed Vitit Muntarbhorn to investigate abuses against LGBT and intersex people around the world.
But on Friday, representatives from several African countries called for Muntarbhorn’s position to be suspended.
The member states released a draft of a resolution questioning the legality of Muntarbhorn’s role, claiming they were concerned “non-internationally agreed notions such as sexual orientation and gender identity are given attention, to the detriment of issues of paramount importance, such as the right to development and the racism agenda.”
Representing the 54-member Africa group, Botswana’s U.N. Ambassador Charles Ntwaagae said sexual orientation and gender identity “are not and should not be linked to existing international human rights instruments.”
The resolution will have to be voted on in committee, and then by the General Assembly, to pass.
While the United Nations has stepped up efforts to address the needs of LGBT people worldwide, efforts from countries that stigmatize homosexuality have hamstrung their work:
In 2014, Saudi Arabia, Russia, China and Iran were among the nations that tried to stop the U.N. from recognizing the same-sex marriages of all employees. This year, 51 Muslim states blocked gay organizations from officially attending a high-level U.N. meeting on AIDS.
For more on international LGBT issues visit Logo’s Global Ally page.