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​APF applauds selection of UN's first-ever LGBTI expert

Graphic: Prof Vitit Muntarbhorn with other members of the APF Advisory Council of Jurists, 2010

The APF has welcomed the appointment of Prof Vitit Muntarbhorn as the inaugural UN Independent Expert on sexual orientation and gender identity.


The APF has joined other international human rights groups in welcoming the appointment of Professor Vitit Muntarbhorn as the United Nations first Independent Expert on sexual orientation and gender identity.

On 30 September 2016, the UN Human Rights Council announced that Prof Muntarbhorn, an international law professor at Thailand's Chulalongkorn University, would take on the mandate for the next three years.

In his role as Independent Expert, Prof Muntarbhorn will assess the implementation of existing international human rights instruments with a view to how to overcome violence and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people.

He will also be tasked with identifying and addressing the root causes of such violence and discrimination.


Professor Muntarbhorn has provided invaluable support to the APF’s efforts to promote and protect the human rights of LGBTI people.

Kieren Fitzpatrick, Director, APF secretariat

Kieren Fitzpatrick said Prof Muntarbhorn would be an "outstanding and effective voice for LGBTI people across the globe".

"Prof Muntarbhorn has provided invaluable support to the APF's efforts to promote and protect the human rights of LGBTI people, starting with our first regional workshop for national human rights institutions in 2009," he said

"He also provided tremendous leadership on the APF's Advisory Council of Jurists when it developed recommendations to strengthen and expand the role of NHRIs in relation to issues of sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics.

"That report provided a powerful impetus for sustained action in countries across the Asia Pacific."

Human Rights Watch welcomed the appointment and said the Human Rights Council had "made history".

"This critical mandate will bring much-needed attention to human rights violations against LGBT people in all regions of the world," John Fisher, the group's director in Geneva, said in a statement.

The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association said the newly created role was critical in providing justice to LGBTI people who had been attacked, abused or discriminated against.

Jessica Stern, executive director of OutRight Action International, described the appointment as "a huge leap forward".

In 2006, Prof Muntarbhorn was part of a panel of experts that drafted the Yogyakarta Principles, which outline the international human rights standards relating to sexual orientation and gender identity.

He has also previously served in a number of UN roles, including as part of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria and as a Special Rapporteur on North Korea.

Date: 3 October 2016


Image credits

  1. Prof Vitit Muntarbhorn with other members of the APF Advisory Council of Jurists, 2010 - APF/James Iliffe