The country positioned itself firmly as a global leader in the protection of the rights of gay, lesbian and transgender people and played a key role in preventing a walkout of other African states.
South Africa was supported by Europe, except for Russia, all of North and Latin America and Asian states Thailand and Korea, but was vigorously opposed by the Muslim world and its neighbours in Africa. The Asian giants, China and India, were notably silent.
The historic debate, termed by some the most divisive yet in the history of the United Nations General Assembly's Human Rights Council, was sponsored by South Africa and Brazil. It began with a statement by Ban Ki-moon in which the UN secretary general called the continued discrimination and violence against sexual minorities "a monumental tragedy for those affected and a stain on our collective conscience".