India abstained from LGBT vote for legal reasons

New Delhi: India abstained from voting in the UN Human Rights Council on a resolution to appoint an independent expert for the LGBT community as the issue of LGBT rights is with the Supreme Court, a senior official said on Friday. “The issue of LGBT (lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders) rights in India is a matter being considered by the Supreme Court under a batch of curative petitions filed by various institutions and organisations,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup said at his weekly media briefing here. “The Supreme Court, you also know, is yet to pronounce on this issue,” he said. “As such, we had to take this into account in terms of our vote on the third UN resolution to institutionalise the office of an independent expert to prevent discrimination against LGBT persons.” On Thursday, the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva decided to appoint, for a period of three years, an independent expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.  It also adopted a resolution on youth and human rights.  “Adopted by a vote of 23 in favour, 18 against and six abstentions, the resolution said the mandate of the independent expert would be 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, and to identify and address the root causes of violence and discrimination,” the Council said in a statement.