Act now! For United Nations Human Rights Council's resolution on human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity

16 June 2011

This Friday, 17 June, members States of the Human Rights Council will vote on a resolution on human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.

This historic resolution, presented by South Africa, affirms the universality of human rights, and notes concern about acts of violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. It requests the High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare a study on violence and discrimination on these grounds, and calls for a panel discussion to be held at the Human Rights Council to discuss the findings of the study in a constructive and transparent manner, and to consider appropriate follow-up.

PT Foundation believes that this is an important resolution given that discrimination against homosexual, transgender and other communities affected by HIV in Malaysia greatly threatens the education, prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS. Non-judgement and non-discrimination towards all communities must be the guiding principles for HIV prevention work, and PT Foundation believes that this resolution, highlighting sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination, will draw attention to the negative impact discrimination and violence has on HIV education, prevention and treatment.

To read PT Foundation's full position statement about this resolution, please visit:

You can take action on this resolution as well!

Together, we can send a clear message that violence against those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex is never acceptable, and help create an environment of non-judgement and non-discrimination which will enable effective HIV education, prevention and treatment.

What can I do?

Please take action today to urge your government to support the resolution. Only Members of the Council (listed below) may vote, although non-Member States can still “cosponsor” the resolution to demonstrate their support.

  • If you think your country might besupportive, it is important to confirm that they will vote in favour, and/or co-sponsor the resolution. Encourage them to approach other States who may be supportive.
  • If your State is neutral, or has abstained on sexual orientation or gender identity issues in the past, urge them to vote in favour too. If they make it clear they will not support the resolution, encourage them to reconsider, or at least abstain so as not to block attention to these important human rights concerns.
  • If you know your government will beunsupportive or hostile to the resolution, please encourage them to abstain, rather than voting against and thus preventing dialogue on issues of violence and discrimination.

Who should I approach? How did my government vote on these issues in the past?

Only Human Rights Council Members will be able to vote on the resolution. There are currently 46 voting Members of the Human Rights Council. It is their votes which will determine whether the resolution is adopted or rejected. Below is an overview of priority Member States to approach in each region.


· Japan, Thailand and South Koreahave supported previous sexual orientation and gender identity initiatives. It is important that they be encouraged to support the resolution.

· Kyrgyzstan and the Maldives have abstained on SOGI initiatives in the past, and may be encouraged to support (or at least not oppose) the resolution.

· Bahrain, Bangladesh, China, Jordan,Malaysia, Pakistan, Qatar and SaudiArabia have opposed SOGI initiatives in the past.

What if my country is not a Member of the Human Rights Council? How can they support the resolution?

If your State is not a voting Member of the Human Rights Council, they may still cosponsor the resolution. “Cosponsorship” means they may endorse the resolution to demonstrate their support, even though they cannot vote. The more cross-regional cosponsors the resolution has, the more it will encourage voting Members to also demonstrate their support. This is particularly important in underrepresented regions, such as Africa and Asia.

For example, within Asia and the Pacific Islands, the following non-Member States have supported SOGI initiatives in the past, and may be encouraged to cosponsor the resolution:

· Fiji, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Mongolia, Nauru, Nepal, Palau, Samoa, Timor-Leste, Tuvalu, Vanuatu.

Non-Member States from all regions who may be supportive also have an important role to play in approaching voting Member States with whom they have good relations, to encourage them to support the resolution.

How do I contact my government?

  • The most important contact is your government’s Foreign Ministry in your capital. Contact details for the Foreign Ministry of each country can be found at:

  • It is also useful to copy any message to your country’sAmbassador in Geneva. Contact details for the Geneva missions of each State can be found at:

What do I tell them?

  • Thank them for any past supportthey have demonstrated for sexual orientation and gender identity issues, or for principles of human rights more generally, and emphasize that this is a very straightforward resolution recognising that all human beings are entitled to be protected from serious human rights violationslike killings, violence, criminal sanctions and torture, and requesting further information and transparent dialogue on these issues.
  • Underline that the resolution createsno new rights, but simply seeks the application of existing international standards to those who face human rights violations because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Encourage them to support the resolution, and ask for a specific response to your request. You may also wish to request a meeting to discuss the matter further.
  • You know your own country best. Feel free tailor this information to the context of your country or region, while maintaining a constructive approach.

Questions or further information?

  • Please keep us informed of your country’s response. A coalition of NGOs is closely monitoring this initiative, and may be reached at:

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