India again abstains at U.N. vote on LGBTQ Independent Expert, draws criticism

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  1. Despite decriminalising homosexuality, India has abstained from voting in favour of LGBTQ rights at the United Nations Human Rights Council. India had also abstained during the 2016 vote on appointment of the Independent Expert.
  2. A resolution was moved by Latin American states seeking to renew the mandate of independent expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI).
  3. The resolution received support from most of the member countries. Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, China, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Qatar, Somalia opposed the resolution.
  4. In September 2018, the Supreme Court had decriminalised same-sex relationships in India by partially striking down the provisions of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
  5. Section 377 criminalised voluntary carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal. Though the law did not explicitly mention LGBTQI community, the phrase “against the order of nature” came to be referred for same-sex sexual relations.