The United Nations has set a precedent by acknowledging the need to protect individuals from executions based on gender identity in a new resolution passed last week.

The resolution by the UN General Assembly urges States to protect the right to life of all people, as well as  to investigate killings based on discriminatory grounds, including, for the first time in the resolution’s history, “gender identity.”

For the past 12 years, the UNGA’s resolution has included “sexual orientation,” except for a temporary vote to remove it in 2010 that was subsequently reversed.

Introduced by Sweden, the resolution passed with 108 votes in favor, 65 abstentions and 19 absent. Only one country voted against the resolution and it rhymes with “Iran.”

Several governments condemned the references to sexual orientation and gender identity, namely Egypt, Sudan, and the United Arab Emirates, as well as the Holy See, which attempted to strip the resolution of all specific references to groups at high risk for execution. The amendment, however, was never formally introduced.

As noted by the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission, the resolution was particularly significant as it was passed on Transgender Day of Remembrance, dedicated to those murdered as a result of their gender identity or expression.

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