From the UN:
The United Nations Human Rights Office (OHCHR) has released a 60-page booklet on sexual orientation and gender identity in international human rights law. The publication, “Born Free and Equal,” sets out the source and scope of State obligations to protect the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people under international human rights law. Drawing on almost two decades’ worth of UN research, guidance and jurisprudence, the booklet focuses on five core areas where State action is urgently required: protecting people from homophobic violence; preventing torture; decriminalizing homosexuality; prohibiting discrimination; and safeguarding freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.“The case for extending the same rights to lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-gender (LGBT) persons as those enjoyed by everyone else is neither radical nor complicated. It rests on two fundamental principles that underpin international human rights law: equality and non-discrimination. The opening words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are unequivocal: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”Nevertheless, deeply embedded homophobic attitudes, often combined with alack of adequate legal protection against discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, expose many LGBT people of all ages and in all regions of the world to egregious violations of their human rights. They are discriminated against in the labour market, in schools and in hospitals, andmistreated and disowned by their own families. On the streets of towns and citiesaround the world, they are singled out for physical attack – beaten, sexuallyassaulted, tortured and killed. And in some 76 countries, discriminatory lawscriminalize private, consensual same-sex relationships – exposing individualsto the risk of arrest, prosecution and imprisonment.”
Via I AM EQUAL
Really good video explaining the history of human rights and how each of us has a role in ensuring we all have dignity and justice.
Via Mail & Guardian
“The resolution calls for an “open-ended intergovernmental working group to elaborate [on] new concepts such as sexual orientation”, and “decides that the aforementioned working group shall be the single modality and framework of the United Nations Human Rights Council within which all the deliberations on sexual orientation … shall be undertaken”.
The proposal has riled South African and international human rights and gay rights activists. Said Zackie Achmat, co-founder of the Social Justice Coalition: “As it stands the resolution would be unconstitutional.”
Read the article here.
The Globe and Mail reports that Canada’s second lamest PM in recent history ( only because Mulroney lasted longer) has finally indicated what Canada plans to do about Libya’s regime.
“Mr. Harper said Canada will go beyond the UN resolution.
“Our government will impose an asset freeze on, and a prohibition of financial transactions with the government of Libya, its institutions and agencies, including the Libyan Central Bank.
“These actions will help restrict the movement of, and access to money and weapons for those responsible for the violence against the Libyan people.”
The 192-member UN General Assembly is meeting Tuesday to vote on a UN Human Rights Council recommendation to suspend Libya from the world organization’s top human rights body.
Mr. Harper said Mr. Gadhafi has betrayed his own people.
Read the rest here.
The UN Security Council has voted unanimously to impose new sanctions on the murderous Gaddafi regime. According to the BBC discussions are already taking place on forming a transitional government.
The motion passed was based ( and deviates very little from) this leaked draft resolution.
The International Lesbian,Gay , Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association ( ILGA) has once again been turned down for membership in the UN’s Economic and Social Council. Inner City Press is reporting the vote on the application was proposed by Belgium but Sudan immediately countered that the application should not be considered.
When the dust had cleared it was voted 9-7 with one abstention ( Kyrgyzstan ) that the application should not be considered. Countries voting not to consider the ILGA’s application ( i.e. ‘yes’) were: Russia, Senegal, Sudan, Venezuela, Burundi, China, Nicaragua, Pakistan and Morocco .
Countries voted against the application being ignored ( i.e. ‘no’) were: Peru, Turkey, USA, Belgium, Bulgaria, India and Israel.
The approved resolution put forward initially on December 17, 2010 was as follows:
A) on the basis that ILGA represents over 700 LGBTI member organisations throughout the world equally committed to fight discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, and to promote the universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the elimination of all forms of discrimination and also including the realisation of the specific provisions of the following international human rights instruments:
· The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;
· The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights;
· The International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination;
· The Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women;
· The Convention on the Rights of the Child
· The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
· United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,
B) concerned that ILGA’s applications for ECOSOC status have been unjustly denied 4 times,
C) disturbed by the discriminatory treatment from the UN NGO Committee demanding once again (November 2010) ILGA to subject our membership to additional, unreasonable and unjust requirements outside of the protocol concerning ECOSOC applications,
1) condemns the repeated attempts to link ILGA and LGBTI organisations with paedophilia
2) insists that the United Nations recognizes ILGA’s right to obtain ECOSOC status in order to engage with the United Nations system like any other legitimate organisation.
Original located on ILGA’s site here.
At least you know which countries to add to your no-visit list.
Rwanda explains its vote on adding sexual orientation to the UN resolution on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions
Rwanda impressed many around the world in its principled vote for the return of the clause adding protection to LGBT people from extra-judicial killing. Other nations , and most especially her African neighbors, should take note.
United Nations General Assembly, 21 December 2010.
Thank you, sir, for giving me the floor. Rwanda would like to explain its vote on this amendment submitted by the United States.
Sexual orientation, sir, is a concept which sparks very animated debate in the international level, at the national level, even within our families. It relates to our respective cultures, our way of living, or our religions. This debate generally relates to the definition of this concept of sexual orientation, also the criminalization of such practices, and family rights that have to be granted to people who have a different sexual orientation. This is a complex issue, and no definitive decisions have been taken internationally, and within states or even continents there are very conflicting, seemingly irreconcilable positions. Rwanda feels that sexual orientations of our compatriots is a totally private matter where states cannot intervene, either to award new rights or to discriminate or criminalize those who have such an orientation.
But the matter before us now is very different, sir. Here the General Assembly of the United Nations is called upon, not to grant family rights to people with a different sexual orientation, not to give an opinion on the criminalization of such practices, but to decide whether such men and women have the right to life. Sir, in listing specific groups such as national or racial or ethnic or religious or linguistic or even political or ideological or professional groups, the authors of this resolution on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary execution have clearly wished to draw attention to high-risk groups that are frequently the target of murder, assassination or execution. We wish to alert states to the vulnerability of such groups and the reality of the crimes committed against them, and to call for prosecution of authors of such acts. Whether or not the concept is defined or not, whether or not we support the claims of people with a different sexual orientation, whether or not we approve of their sexual practices – but we must deal with the urgency of these matters and recognize that these people continue to be the target of murder in many of our societies, and they are more at risk than many of the other groups listed. This is unfortunately true, and recognizing this is not a call to give them special rights; it’s just recognition of a crime, that their fundamental rights, their right to life should not be refused. But to refuse to recognize this reality for legal or ideological or cultural reasons will have the consequence of continuing to hide our heads in the sand and to fail to alert states to these situations that break families. Believe me, sir, that a human group doesn’t need to be legally defined to be the victim of execution or massacre, since those who target their members have previously defined them. Rwanda has experienced this sixteen years ago indeed, and for this reason our delegation will vote for the amendment, and calls on other delegations to do likewise.
In the Caribbean St. Lucia shamelessly voted no to reinserting ‘sexual orientation’ into a resolution condemning extrajudicial killings. Trinidad & Tobago ( shockingly) abstained again while Jamaica, unsuprisingly, also abstained.