United Nations May Terminate LGBTQ Rights Investigator

"Grunge" illustration of the United Nations flag. CC0 public domain.

 

As Tuesday draws ever closer, the United States of America waits with pained, bated breath to see how our country decides its fate. This election season has elicited a vast divide across the nation, especially between the two main political parties. The Republican Party also splits internally, as many Republicans have angrily disowned Donald Trump over the nominee’s detestable choices.

While this matter lurks in the back of all of our minds, another pressing issue has arisen in the United Nations, one that threatens the well being of the world’s population.

Hardly a few months ago, the United Nations appointed its first independent investigator to combat and violence against LGBTQ people worldwide. The investigator is Vitit Muntarbhorn, an international law professor from Thailand, and an expert in the committee which helped investigate conflicts in Syria. Originally, Mr. Muntarbhorn was meant to have this position for three years, and to use it to investigate various LGBTQ issues around the world. But now, he faces severe opposition from a sizable faction of the United Nations that seeks to end his position and halt the progress already made.

In an attempt to stop Mr. Muntarbhorn from addressing their countries human rights violations against their LGBTQ communities, numerous countries plan to use the United Nation’s General Assembly to undo his position. One of the leaders against the investigator position is Botswana’s U.N. Ambassador Charles Ntwaagae. Mr. Ntwaagae questions the legality of the mandate that first allowed Mr. Muntarbhorn to obtain his position.

Other U.N. officials, such as U.S. Deputy Ambassador Sarah Mendelson, have expressed concern about this opposition to the independent investigator mandate. Ms. Mendelson is rightly worried that if nations attempt to reopen this mandate to discuss its legality, such action would halt vital LGBTQ progress that would otherwise continue.

LGBTQ communities, other marginalized populations and the entire world will be carefully watching our country’s presidential election. Considering Trump and his running mate’s determination to erode LGBTQ rights, the election’s outcome carries tremendous significance. On top of that, a tense spotlight also reflects upon the United Nations as its General Assembly oversees a battle that could end up toppling a vital human rights defender.

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