The UN Human Rights Council has passed a historic resolution calling for universal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people.

This is the first time the body has passed a resolution which focuses specifically on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The resolution, which passed 23-19 with three abstentions, “affirms that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms … without distinction of any kind”.

It was introduced by South Africa, which was accused by some other African countries of siding with the west over the issue.

South Africa, which recently pledged to tackle an epidemic of ‘corrective rapes’ on lesbians, was attacked by the Nigerian envoy for “breaking the tradition of African group”. The envoy also claimed that 90 per cent of South Africans oppose the resolution.

More opposition came from some Arab states and the Pakistan envoy, speaking on behalf of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, said the countries were “disturbed on the attempt to focus on certain persons on the grounds of their sexual interest and behaviour”.

Introducing the resolution, South Africa said that it “does not seek to impose values on states, but seeks to initiate dialogue”.

The resolution also commissions a study on anti-gay discrimination and violence and establishes a panel to look at the issues.