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|United Nations approves ‘groundbreaking’ LGBT resolution|
|Written by Lisa Keen|
|Friday, 24 June 2011 00:00|
The United Nations’ Human Rights Council voted 23 to 19 on June 17 to approve a resolution that expresses “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.”
The resolution, approved at a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, calls for the creation of a U.N. commission to document discriminatory laws, practices, and violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation or gender identity around the world.
The study is to recommend “how international human rights law can be used to end violence and related human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”
The commission is to submit its report in December, and the Human Rights Council will convene a panel to discuss the report.
The International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission called the vote a “groundbreaking achievement.”
President Obama issued a statement noting that it is the “first time in history” that the U.N. has adopted a resolution “dedicated to advancing the basic human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons.”
“This marks a significant milestone in the long struggle for equality, and the beginning of a universal recognition that LGBT persons are endowed with the same inalienable rights — and entitled to the same protections — as all human beings,” Obama said in the statement.
“The United States stands proudly with those nations that are standing up to intolerance, discrimination, and homophobia. Advancing equality for LGBT persons should be the work of all peoples and all nations. LGBT persons are entitled to equal treatment, equal protection, and the dignity that comes with being full members of our diverse societies,” the president said.
The U.N. Human Rights Council is comprised of 47 countries.
Countries voting for the resolution were Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, France, Guatemala, Hungary, Japan, Mauritius, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, the, United States, and Uruguay.
Countries voting against it were Angola, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Djibouti, Gabon, Ghana, Jordan, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Moldova, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, and Uganda.
The countries of China, Zambia, and Burkina abstained. Two other members — Kyrgyzstan and Libya — were absent. Libya was suspended from the Council in March.
The resolution was originally presented by South Africa.
The U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Susan Rice, said the United States took a “leading role” in the resolution’s adoption, “and we pledge to continue to fight discrimination in any guise and embrace diversity in every form.”
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a statement saying the U.S. worked with South Africa and other countries to secure passage.
“The United States will continue to stand up for human rights wherever there is inequality and we will seek more commitments from countries to join this important resolution,” said Clinton.
In an earlier victory at the United Nations, the General Assembly voted last December to restore a reference to “sexual orientation” in a resolution against the killing of vulnerable minority groups — a reference that had been removed only a month earlier. The Assembly then approved the amended resolution.
Top photo: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a statement saying the U.S. worked with South Africa and other countries to secure passage of a resolution supporting LGBT rights. (official portrait)
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