UN Votes to Restore Sexual Orientation to Resolution Condemning Extrajudicial, Summary and Arbitrary Executions

Good news coming in from the UN, as member states have voted to restore sexual orientation to a resolution on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. The body had voted 79 to 70 with 17 abstentions and 26 absences on November 16 to remove Sexual orientation from the resolution.

The AP reports:


The removal of the reference, done at the committee level last month, alarmed human rights advocates who said gay people are among minority groups that need special protection from extrajudicial and other unjustified killings.

The assembly on Tuesday voted 93 in favor of the United States' proposal to restore the previous language, with 55 countries against and 27 abstaining. The assembly then approved the amended resolution 122 in favor, with 0 votes against, and 59 abstentions.

Ambassador Susan Rice led the efforts to reinsert the resolution, The New Civil Rights Movement reports:

Suggesting LGBT peoples are weak and invited discrimination, the United Arab Emirates spoke at length, and said it “rejects firmly” the “controversial” statement that has “no legal foundation.”

The African Group representative said they were “gravely alarmed” with the “undefined notion of sexual orientation,” and called the attempt to restore the term a “systematic attempt to create new rights,” and  said it would “jeopardize the entire human rights framework… to achieve narrow political gain.”

In a major switch, South Africa voted for the resolution, after having voted to remove sexual orientation from the resolution last month. Rowanda also spoke very eloquently. But Zimbabwe, calling the text “adventurism,” also likened homosexuality to bestiality and said “individual proclivities should be just that.”

Towleroad News #gay

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A victory: UN adds sexual orientation to resolution on executions

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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United Nations Restores Resolution Condemning Executions Of Gays

Last month a coalition of Arabic and African nations succeeded in removing a reference to sexual orientation in a United Nations resolution condemning the unjustified executions of minority groups. Today at the urging of the United States, that reference was restored by a vote 93-55, with 27 abstentions.

Boris Dittrich, director of the gay rights program at Human Rights Watch, said he was “relieved” by the vote. “The resolution does justice to gays, lesbians and transgender people in countries where they are targeted for assaults and killings,” Dittrich said. “Hate crimes on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity must be countered just like hate crimes on the basis of race or religion.” Mark Bromley, of the Washington-based Council for Global Equality, called the vote “an important victory.” Rights groups worked ahead of the vote to lobby countries that had abstained earlier in hopes of getting them to approve a U.S.-sponsored amendment to restore the words “sexual orientation.” Colombia and South Africa were among the countries they persuaded to approve the amendment.

I find it curious that South Africa, a country with legalized same-sex marriage, was one of the holdouts in the first vote.

Joe. My. God.

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Demand that Governments of the World Condemn LGBT Executions!

Last month in a United Nations committee, 79 countries endorsed a proposed amendment to remove references to sexual orientation from the UN Resolution on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions.  Only 70 countries supported retention of the term, while 43 countries abstained or didn’t vote.

This is the only UN resolution to include an explicit reference to sexual orientation, and it has passed successfully for the past ten years.  We cannot allow this backslide to occur.

The good news is that “we have the opportunity to restore the reference to sexual orientation – and hopefully extend it to also include gender identity – when the resolution comes up before the UN General Assembly on Monday 20 December”, according to International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission.

What can you do?

* Demand that the Member States of the United Nations condemn extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people by signing this petition.

* No matter what country you live in, learn how to contact your government, how they voted last time and what to say here.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s reaction to the proposed removal of “sexual orientation” from the resolution:

When individuals are attacked [or] abused … because of their sexual orientation, we must speak out. …It is not called the ‘Partial’ Declaration of Human Rights. It is not the ‘Sometimes’ Declaration of Human Rights. It is the Universal Declaration, guaranteeing all human beings their basic human rights, without exception.

United States Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice indicated that the US would “champion the rights of LGBT people at the UN”, reported International Service for Human Rights.  Ambassador Rice and Secretary General Ban keynoted “Ending violence and criminal sanctions on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity”, a high-level discussion held on Human Rights Day and organized by the Permanent Missions of Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Croatia, France, Gabon, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, the US and the Delegation of the European Union.  Read Ambassador Rice’s speech here.


* Association of British Muslims criticizes UN for removing sexual orientation protections

* Gays on safari in Kenya are now themselves fair game
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

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U.S. To Attempt To Restore United Nations Resolution Against Gay Executions

Last month a coalition of African and Arabic nations forced the deletion of “sexual orientation” from a United Nations resolution condemning the “extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions” of certain classes of people. Next week the United States will attempt to have that phrase restored.

Speaking at a panel on Human Rights Day, US ambassador to the UN Susan Rice said she was “incensed” at the vote. “We are going to fight to restore the reference to sexual orientation,” she said. “We’re going to stand firm on this basic principle. And we intend to win.” The vote on this resolution is expected to come up in the General Assembly on 20 December 2010. The resolution, which the UN votes on every two years, has contained a reference to lesbian and gay people since 1999. It condemns extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions and other killings. It still includes references to a variety of other groups, such as human rights defenders, religious and ethnic minorities and street children.

Joe. My. God.

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