Earlier today, the United Nations' Human Rights Council approved a resolution that declared that people should be "entitled to all rights and freedoms without distinction of any kind," including their sexual orientation and gender identity. This is the first time that a resolution has passed in the United Nations specifically condemning human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
South Africa, Brazil, and 39 other co-sponsors introduced the resolution. In the final vote of the 47-member body of the Human Rights Council, 23 lent their support, 19 opposed, and 3 abstained. European Union members, the United States, and much of South America supported the resolution, while African and Middle Eastern countries opposed the resolution. China, Burkina Faso, and Zambia abstained.
The resolution launches an official study, to be completed before December 2011, that will document laws and violent practices that discriminate against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. It also establishes plans for a panel discussion to occur two sessions from now to further discuss the importance of protecting people who are discriminated based on their sexual minority status.