The latest word from the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans & Intersex Association about the selection process for a United Nations special envoy on queer issues is that we are one big step closer to the establishment of this position.
A longtime highly regarded international advocate and expert on human rights, Mr. Vitit Muntarbhorn, who hails from Thailand, is the top choice of the leader of the UN's human rights body in Geneva.
There is no indication in the public record that I can locate regarding his sexual orientation. I've emailed Muntarbhorn and when I hear from him, I'll share his response.
While it's not critical to have an LGBTI person as the special envoy, it is important to know how he or she identifies. My previous reporting on the envoy is here, here, here and here.
I've cobbled together the pertinent sections of the UN HRC president's letter into one image and here is the note today from ILGA:
After consulting with the various regions, yesterday the President of the United Nations HRC issued his own list of proposed candidates for the five vacancies of special procedures mandate holders to be appointed at the Human Rights Council in September.
He has decided to propose the candidates recommended and ranked first by the Consultative Group in 4 out of the 5 cases, and this includes for the position of the Independent Expert on SOGI, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, Mr. Vitit MUNTARBHORN of Thailand.
In his letter, the President does highlight the challenges faced by the Consultative Group, the Secretariat and himself in meeting the deadlines prescribed by the Council, stressing that it has impacted on the time for his consultations, and encourages the States to revisit such deadlines in the future.
The next formal step in the process will be the adoption by the HRC of the list of candidates, likely to be on the last day of the 33rd session of the Council: i.e. 30 September 2016. States have historically confirmed the candidates as a whole by consensus.
André du Plessis
UN Programme and Advocacy Manager