The voting results

The culmination of the entire process was the vote which was held on June 30, 2016. After the resolution was introduced by Chile, there were 17 votes in all which can be grouped into four broad categories.[1]

  • The vote on a no-action motion proposed by Saudi Arabia which was rejected (15 yes, 22 no and 9 abstention).
  • The votes on the eleven separate amendments, out of which seven were passed with varying majorities.
  • The separate votes on paragraphs of the resolution, all of which were rejected.
  • The final vote on the resolution, as amended, which was passed (23 yes, 18 no and 6 abstention).

The proceedings began with the tabling of a no-action motion. The no-action motion was a strategic manoeuvre which aimed to make the point that the issue was so problematic that it should not even be brought to the floor of the Council and did not merit the dignity of discussion. Once this was defeated, the next strategy adopted by those opposed to the resolution was to introduce a slew of hostile amendments all of which sought to subvert the intent and purpose of the resolution. This strategy was partially successful, as seven out of the eleven amendments got through. This was followed by a vote on separate paragraphs that was defeated. Finally, the Council voted on the amended resolution as a whole, and this vote passed.

There were over 78 interventions made by over 31 states over the course of the debate spanning the four sections highlighted above. (A descriptive account of the vote is available in Annex II)

The resolution on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity was finally adopted by a vote of 23 in favour, 18 against and 6 abstentions. The result of the passing of the resolution was that the Council decides to appoint, for a period of three years, an Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, with the mandate to assess the implementation of existing international human rights instruments with regard to ways to overcome violence and discrimination against persons on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity; raise awareness of violence and discrimination against persons on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and to identify and address the root causes of violence and discrimination; and engage in dialogue and to consult with States and other relevant stakeholders. The Council also requests the Independent Expert to report annually to the Human Rights Council, starting from its thirty-fifth session, and to the General Assembly, starting from its seventy-second session.

The result of the vote was as follows:

In favour (23): Albania, Belgium, Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, France, Georgia, Germany, Latvia, Mexico, Mongolia, Netherlands, Panama, Paraguay, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Slovenia, Switzerland, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, United Kingdom, Venezuela and Viet Nam.

Against (18): Algeria, Bangladesh, Burundi, China, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Morocco, Nigeria, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Togo and United Arab Emirates.

Abstentions (6): Botswana, Ghana, India, Namibia, Philippines and South Africa.

It is clear that no party completely got what they wanted. The sponsors of the resolution obviously wanted the passage of the resolution and the rejection of all hostile amendments. What they got instead was the passage of the resolution in which seven out of the eleven amendments were passed. So the resolution, as passed, was very different from the resolution as tabled.[2]To understand the implications of the amended resolution will require a detailed analysis of both the amendments as well a broader understanding of what the effect of the amended resolution would be.

[1] For a copy of the resolution as tabled See http://ap.ohchr.org/documents/dpage_e.aspx?si=A/HRC/32/L.2/Rev.1

[2] A copy of the resolution as passed is available at http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/SP/CallApplications/HRC33/A.HRC.RES.32.2_AEV.docx