Sri Lanka was among the 84 countries which defeated a draft resolution put forward by African states calling for the suspension of work of the first ever UN independent investigator appointed to help protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people from violence and discrimination.
Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Mongolia, Thailand, Vietnam, Turkey and Korean Republic were among the 84 countries which voted in favour of the counter-amendment.
According to the Guardian, the 47-member UN Human Rights Council created the position in June and in September appointed Vitit Muntarbhorn of Thailand, who has a three-year mandate to investigate abuses against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people.
Meanwhile, African states put forward a draft resolution in the UN general assembly third committee, which deals with human rights, calling for consultations on the legality of the creation of the mandate. They said the work of the investigator should be suspended.
However, western countries successfully proposed an amendment that gutted the African group draft resolution. The amendment was adopted in the third committee on Monday with 84 votes in favour, 77 against and 17 abstentions.
The amended draft resolution, which makes no change to the work of the gay rights investigator, was then adopted by the third committee with 94 votes in favor, three against and 80 abstentions.
Russia and Egypt, speaking on behalf of the 57-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, said they would not recognize the mandate of the gay rights investigator and would not cooperate with Muntarbhorn. Britain urged all countries to cooperate with the investigator.
Being gay is a crime in at least 73 countries, the UN has said. The issue of gay rights consistently sparks heated debate at the United Nations.
In 2014, UN chief Ban Ki-moon said the UN would recognize all same-sex marriages of its staff, allowing them to receive UN benefits. Russia unsuccessfully tried to overturn it last year, with Saudi Arabia, China, Iran, India, Egypt, Pakistan and Syria among 43 states that supported Moscow.
In February the African Group, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the 25-member Group of Friends of the Family, led by Egypt, Belarus and Qatar, protested the launch of six UN stamps promoting LGBT equality.
Then a group of 51 Muslim states blocked 11 gay and transgender organizations from officially attending a high-level UN meeting in June on ending AIDS, sparking a protest by the United States, Canada and the European Union.