Understanding the ‘No vote’

The appointment of the first Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in the 32nd session of the Human Rights Council marked an important milestone in the LGBTI struggle. However, the distance yet to be travelled was brought home in a stark fashion in the 36th session of the Human Rights Council in the debate around the death penalty.


Understanding Resolution 36/17 of 2017 on ‘The question of the death penalty’

The Amendment Strategy

Analysing the vote on Resolution 36/17

Understanding the ‘Yes vote’

Understanding the ‘No vote’

The core of the ‘No vote’ was a coalition of African and Asian states including Bangladesh, Burundi, Botswana, China, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Iraq, Japan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates joined by the USA. All these countries retain the death penalty as a punishment and includes the countries which are the top executing countries today.

The figures for 2016 indicate that at least 1,032 people were executed in 23 countries in 2016. Most executions took place in China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Pakistan, Egypt and USA – in that order. [26]

It’s not surprising that China, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the USA voted against the resolution considering their domestic record of being the world’s top executioners.

The countries that vote ‘no’ on death penalty resolutions also generally vote ‘no’ on resolutions on sexual orientation and gender identity. The three exceptions are the USA, India and Japan. The USA (under the Obama Administration) and Japan have been supporters of SOGI resolutions and India has generally abstained on SOGI resolutions.

The USA’s Vote

Japan’s vote  

India’s vote  

Conclusion: Towards an intersectional approach?  

Download full report here.

[26] https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2017/04/death-penalty-2016-facts-and-figures/