The decision by the United Nations Human Rights Council to document discrimination against LGBT persons has been welcomed by equality groups.
A statement from the UN last week said that the Council requested the High Commissioner initiate a study to be completed by December "to document discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity, in all regions of the world, and how international human rights law could be used to end violence and related human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity."
The resolution was passed narrowly by 23 states to 19 with three abstentions. The motion expressed “grave concern at acts of violence and discrimination, in all regions of the world, committed against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity."
The Rev Sharon Ferguson, Chief Executive of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (LGCM), commented: “This is very good news indeed for people around the world whose sexual orientation in itself is enough to put their lives at risk. Obviously it won't end discrimination and the very real threat of death that many LGBT people face but it draws a clear line for the first time and says that the world is watching.”
LGCM added that it "notes with deep concern and sadness", however, that the nations that voted against the resolution did so very largely from religious convictions about homosexuality, whether these be Christian or Muslim beliefs.
Ms Ferguson added: “We cannot deny the deeply worrying, though entirely expected, rejection of the resolution by nations whose attitudes to LGBT people are based on religious understandings of human sexuality and relationships. We continue to work and pray with other LGBT faith-based organisations to challenge such hatred and bigotry which is not in accord with the deepest principles of either Christianity or Islam.”