UN Human Rights Council Passes Resolution on Gay Rights

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From The Advocate:

The United Nation’s Human Rights Council has approved for the first time a resolution condemning discrimination and violence against LGBT individuals.

In the resolution, passed Friday in Geneva, the council “[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[.]”

By a 23-19 vote with three abstentions, the resolution calls for the UN’s High Commissioner to initiate a worldwide study on “discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence” — research that would be reviewed by the Human Rights Council in a session next year. The measure was introduced by South Africa.

In its report, however, the Associated Press noted that “African and Islamic countries, led by Nigeria and Pakistan, slammed the resolution saying it had ‘nothing to do with fundamental human rights.’

Nonetheless, Mark Bromley of the Council for Global Equality told The Advocate that “[t]he fact that South Africa broke with the rest of the Africa block at the UN to lead this resolution helps tremendously in dispelling the notion that LGBT rights are imposed Western constructs.” He went on to say that “[t]his should help the debate significantly in Africa and elsewhere, where the laws and the violence have been pronounced.” The Advocate story also indicated that Zambia (where sodomy is punishable by up to 10 years in prison) and Burkina Faso were among those who abstained, which Bromley noted as “a positive sign that the African block is not as unified in opposition as they have been in the past.”

-Tony Infanti

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