India abstains from crucial voting on LGBT rights in UN
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 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people.
India’s External Affairs Ministry is expected to release a statement on their stand soon, The Hindu reported.
The resolution was tabled by seven Latin American countries, including Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Mexico. India abstained from voting on the resolution, while Russia, Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh, among others, opposed it too. In total, 23 members voted in favour of the resolution while 18 voted against it.
In India, Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) criminalizes same sex intercourse between consenting adults.
India is among the 73 nations of 193 UN members that criminalises same sex relations. In 2009 Delhi High Court set aside IPC 377 and decriminalised same gender sex relations. But the apex court over ruled the judgement and reinstated the provisions of criminalising the same gender sex. Now it is up to the Parliament to take a decision whether to decriminalise same gender sex or continue with the archaic law.
In India the ruling BJP does not favour scrapping section 377 of the IPC. Even among the oppositions there are leaders who still consider same sex a criminal activity. This makes it difficult for those who want to scrap the archaic law to move a bill in the parliament.
The LGBT community members had expressed disappointment over the government’s move and demanded Prime Minister Narendra Modi to break his silence and speak about community. Last year, a Private Member Bill brought by Congress leader Shashi Tharoor for decriminalising homosexuality was unanimously rejected by the Parliament.