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The UN with the U.S. backing gives gay rights
an unprecedented international formidable boast

The international community at the UN, in a meeting of the GENEVA based Human Rights Council gave the gay rights the endorsement that would have tangible impact the world over. The United Nations endorsed the rights of gay, lesbian and people with different sexual orientation for the first time ever on Friday 17th June, by passing a Resolution hailed as “truly historic” by the US and other backers and merely decried, though in a feeble way, by a few African and some Muslim countries.

Secretary of State Clinton commented:

“This represents a historic moment to highlight the human rights abuses and violations that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people face around the world based solely on who they are and whom they love.”

The UN Human Rights Council easily voted in favor of the Declaration put forward by South Africa, with 23 votes in favor and 19 against.

Backers included the US, the European Union, Brazil and many Catholic nations as well. Those voting against the Resolution included Russia, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Pakistan. China, Burkina Faso and Zambia abstained, Kyrgyzstan didn’t vote.

The Resolution expressed

“grave concern at acts of violence and discrimination, in all regions of the world, committed against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.”

More important, activists noted particularly that the Resolution established a formal UN process to document human rights abuses against gays, including discriminatory laws and acts of violence. According to Amnesty International, consensual same-sex relations are illegal in 76 countries, while harassment and discrimination are common in many more. In countries some have, like Pakistan or Iran, severe penalties for violation of this law.

The White House in a statement strongly backed the Declaration by boldly proclaiming that:

“This marks a significant milestone in the long struggle for equality, and the beginning of a universal recognition that (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) persons are endowed with the same inalienable rights—and entitled to the same protections—as all human beings.”

The Resolution calls for an important panel discussion next spring with “constructive, informed and transparent dialogue on the issue of discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against” gays, lesbians and transgender people.

The opposition to the passage of this Resolution was at best feeble to weak. No one really came prepared to present genuine arguments in their perspective’s favor. Mostly focusing about domestic jurisdiction issues several countries balked at prospect of having their laws scrutinized in this way went too far.

For instance, Akram, Pakistan’s envoy to the UN in Geneva, speaking on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) said:

“We are seriously concerned at the attempt to introduce to the United Nations some notions that have no legal foundation.”

Nigeria claimed the proposal went against the wishes of most Africans. Only a diplomat from the northwest African state of Mauritania addressed briefly the philosophical foundations of the perspectives support when he called the Resolution “an attempt to replace the natural rights of a human being with an unnatural right.”

Quite clearly this Resolution marks the end of many false movements and promises made on behalf of traditionalists and pro family advocates to the ordinary people.

Boris Dietrich of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights program at Human Rights Watch said it was important for the US and Western Europe to persuade South Africa to take the lead on the Resolution so that other non-Western countries would be less able to claim the West was imposing its values.

The US Administration had pushed for gay rights both domestically and internationally. In March 2011, the US had already issued a non-binding Declaration in favor of gay rights that gained the support of more than 80 countries at the UN. In addition, Congress recently “repealed” the ban on gays openly serving in the military, and the Obama administration said it would no longer defend the constitutionality of the US law that bars federal recognition of same-sex marriage.

The vote in Geneva came at critical time for the gay rights debate in the US. Activists across the political spectrum were on edge Friday as New York legislators considered a bill that would make the state the sixth—and by far the biggest—to allow same-sex marriage.

When asked what effect the UN Resolution would do for gays and lesbians in countries that opposed the Resolution, US Deputy Assistant Secretary Daniel Baer said it was a signal

“that there are many people in the international community who stand with them and who support them, and that change will come.”

“It’s a historic method of tyranny to make you feel that you are alone,” he said. “One of the things that this Resolution does for people everywhere, particularly LGBT people everywhere, is remind them that they are not alone.”


Дата публикации: 2011-07-15 02:21:09