In the preceding negotiations on the draft the South African delegation had made a last minute call to include reference to an inter-governmental working group to clarify the meaning of sexual orientation in the context of international law. While this proposal did not find its way into the statement, South Africa eventually joined the statement. The resolution tabled by South Africa on the establishment of the intergovernmental working group to exclusively discuss sexual orientation remains on the table, although there are indications it may be deferred to the June session.
During the debate South Africa took the floor to reiterate its support for the statement. However, the delegation also asserted that the statement was procedurally flawed and that the process had not been sufficiently inclusive and transparent, a charge vehemently denied by the supporters of the statement.
The Russian Federation expressed concern that attempts to create a ‘new category of persons’ could lead to a weakening of protection of other vulnerable categories. Other States made reference to the need to prioritise the right to development (Algeria, Iran), women’s rights (Indonesia), and the rights of the child (Azerbaijan). While reiterating the ‘universality, indivisibility, and interdependence’ of human rights, Algeria stressed the importance of taking regional differences and traditional values into account.