A victory: UN adds sexual orientation to resolution on executions

Posted on 21 Dec 2010 at 11:44pm

There’s a lot of buzz about international relations today, mostly focused on START Treaty. But there was another significant development when the United Nations:

U.N. member states have restored a reference to sexual orientation that was dropped amid much controversy last month from a resolution opposing the unjustified killing of minority groups.

Some additional info. on the vote from San Diego Gay and Lesbian News:

The vote was 93-55 with 27 abstentions.

The opposition mostly came from Arab and African nations where human rights are limited.

Via tweet from UN Ambassador Susan Rice:

We went “all out” and WON.#UN vote sends strong message that human rights apply to all,regardless of sexual orientation http://bit.ly/i4tdbF

Rice linked to this official statement from the U.S. government, made by Ambassador Rick Barton, U.S. Representative to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. Rick is an old friend. We worked together in the mid-80s when both of us lived in Maine. I’m posting his full statement after the break.

Here’s the statement:

Mr. President,

Thank you for this opportunity to take the floor after the vote.

The United States would like to thank countries for their support. We applaud those member states that have stood with us to oppose efforts seeking to block language on “sexual orientation” from this resolution.

Along with many countries in this room today, the United States was deeply disappointed by the vote in the third committee, which eliminated any mention of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals from this resolution condemning extrajudicial killing of vulnerable people around the world.

The voices of civil society and human rights defenders around the world have indeed been heard by the member states of the United Nations – and for that my delegation is especially grateful. The General Assembly has sent a clear signal today that justice and human rights apply to all individuals regardless of their sexual orientation.

As Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said this year on Human Rights Day, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights applies to all human beings without exception and that “violence will end only when we confront prejudice.”

Having just celebrated the 62nd anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, today’s vote ensures that the principles enshrined in that Declaration are put into practice and indeed live on in the 21st century. We have reaffirmed that “all human rights apply to all.” We hope that we can continue to make progress on this at the UN and that all member states will consider signing the statement on LGBT human rights before the UNGA.

We thank the member states of the General Assembly for their support today.

Thank you Mr. President.




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