India on Friday abstained from voting on a United Nations resolution that seeks to create the office of an independent expert to protect the rights of sexual minority groups. India was one of six countries that did not vote on the protection of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people. The resolution got the support of the United States, European and Latin American countries, but was opposed by China, Russia and several Islamic nations. Of the 47 member states at the forum, 23 voted for and 18 against the motion.
India’s explanation for their abstention was that the matter is sub-judice, referring to the ongoing court case against Article 377, which criminalises "unnatural sex" and is widely interpreted as targeting homosexuals and other sexual minorities.
LGBT activists in India criticised the government for its silence, saying it reflected their intolerance and homophobia. Transgender activist Akkai Padmashali said, “This is very disappointing…This is not the first time. When Mr Shashi Tharoor of the Congress presented a Private Member Bill in the Parliament on 377, the Parliament unanimously rejected it. That shows intolerance.”
The move to bring in an LGBT rights official comes in the aftermath of the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando. The expert will be appointed for three years.