The United Nations last week signaled that it was prepared to take a leading role in helping advance LGBT rights around the globe.
Members of the United Nations Human Rights Council narrowly approved a resolution on Thursday calling for the creation of a new office to investigate and report on violence and discrimination against sexual minorities.
Introduced by the Latin American nations of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico and Uruguay, the initiative included the support of European countries. According to The New York Times
, African and predominantly Muslim nations opposed the measure.
Charles Radcliffe, chief of global issues at the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, applauded the move, as did Secretary of State John Kerry.
"This is a big deal," Radcliffe told the Times
. "Ten years ago, you hardly heard the words 'gay' or 'trans' at the UN."
The resolution "reflects the growing global momentum against human rights violations and abuses that LGBT persons continue to face around the world," Kerry said.
The United States is not a current member of the Human Rights Council.