The United Nations on Friday voted by 23-19 vote with 3 abstentions to approve a historic resolution firmly condemning discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientaiton.
Presented by South Africa, the resolution affirms that member nations’ commitments to human rights include combating discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. It also notes “grave concerns” over violence perpetrated on the grounds of sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
The resolution says:
Recalling the universality, interdependence, indivisibility and interrelatedness of human rights as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and consequently elaborated in other human rights instruments such as the international Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other relevant core human rights instruments;
Recalling also that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in that Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, or other status;
Recalling further GA resolution 60/251 which states that the human rights Council shall be responsible for promoting universal respect for the protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction of any kind and in fair and equal manner;
Expressing 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 also determines the following actions:
- Requests the High Commissioner for Human Rights commission a study to be finalised by December 2011, to examine, in all regions of the world, discriminatory laws, practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity, and how international human rights law can be used to combat this;
- Calls for a committee to be created to aid the High Commissioner in “constructive, informed and transparent dialogue” on anti-LGBT laws, and that the panel should also discuss how to continue to follow this issue and implement the recommendations made by the study commissioned by the High Commissioner;
- Finally, the resolution “Decides to remain seized with this priority issue.”
African and Islamic nations who voted against the measure reportedly slammed its passage, with the AP quoting opposition forces led by Nigeria and Pakistan saying the resolution is “nothing to do with fundamental human rights.”
The voting tally as reported by ILGA Europe appears below:
Yes”: Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, France, Guatemala, Hungary, Japan, Mauritius, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, Thailand, UK, USA, Uruguay.
“No” : Angola, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Djibouti, Gabon, Ghana, Jordan, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Moldova, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Uganda.
Abstentions: Burkina Faso, China, Zambia
Absent: Kyrgyzstan, Libya (suspended)