Posts tagged ‘UN’

December 10, 2010

World Human Rights Day at the UN

During a discussion on LGBT rights at the UN today the US showed its mettle by announcing that it will not simply accept the disgraceful vote that took place at the UN recently. The vote “left out any mention of sexual orientation from a resolution condemning the extrajudicial killing of vulnerable people worldwide” and , in fact , saw the reference removed for the first time in a decade. The motion was introduced by Benin and saw the support of most of the English Speaking Caribbean, most of Africa and nations such as Iran.  Trinidad & Tobago chose to abstain rather than do the right thing.

At least the US plans to have the vote reversed.

Rice said she was “incensed” by a recent vote in a General Assembly committee that left out any mention of sexual orientation from a resolution condemning the extrajudicial killing of vulnerable people worldwide. Previous resolutions had included the mention.

The American ambassador said that the United States will sponsor a U.N. amendment to restore the reference to killings based on sexual orientation. “We’re going to stand firm on this basic principle,” she said.

Rights groups welcomed Rice’s announcement, and called on all U.N. member states to support the amendment.

“Words do have a meaning at the U.N.,” said Boris Dittrich of Human Rights Watch. “Reintroducing the reference to sexual orientation in the resolution could help put an end to the hateful killing of people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Read more at CBS News here.

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December 3, 2010

Dark Days Ahead?

I came across a Dallasvoice.com  article today by Hardy Haberman via Twitter ( can’t remember the source) about the implications of the recent disturbing vote at the UN to remove LGBT people from being protected against such things as extra-judicial killings. I think it bears reading.

The United Nations recently took a vote and with a simple majority of just nine countries, they removed LGBT people from the special protections category of “vulnerable populations.” That category specifically mentions special protection from extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary execution.

What does this mean? Well, according to the U.N., we are no longer considered worthy of protection against arbitrary execution. In other words, it’s open season on LGBT people in a whole lot of countries.

It is important to note who voted against us: The Russian Federation, China, Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi plus a host of Middle Eastern countries joined the majority to remove us from that list.

In the case of the African nations, I cannot fail to mention that the radical right, especially the far-right ministers in this country, have been a big influence. If you will remember, the draconian anti-gay laws in Uganda were in part encouraged by religious groups from the U.S.

Read more here.

 

 

 

November 28, 2010

Pride and Extreme Prejudice.

Via Ziffer IS-Unseen on Facebook

Copyright Ziffer on FB

Another day in Bonaire though I spent most of it on my own just writing and watching the rain. This evening I had pause to think about some issues that affect me deeply. The UN 3rd Committee vote still angers me.It has skewed how I view Caribbean governments. I had two online exchanges about it  today – the wonder of  the internet with me being on a tiny rock in the Caribbean Sea right now.

In the first exchange I was speaking to a longtime friend about the vote and he said he was proud of the stance I was taking online and otherwise on the matter of  equal rights. I might have used a few choice works about T&T’s abstention but he shared my view that it was a disgrace. The second exchange  followed a tweet I sent noting that after Haiti’s vote for removing sexual orientation from the document protecting people from extra-judicial killings I was ambivalent about whatever happened to that country. A very thoughtful friend noted that I should take a larger view and that the UN countries behind the vote were also behind the fiasco that was today’s vote in Haiti.  I respectfully noted that when it comes to human rights and the right to not be  killed  I will not take a broader view.  Haiti is not a place I will feel too deeply about and that is being polite.  I am still extremely angry about that vote so perhaps I better move along.

In brighter news – and I mean a lot brighter – India celebrated Pride Day today for the first time since the decriminalizing of homosexuality last year. They have shown the world that they are a force to be reckoned with both economically and socially. Pity the Caribbean couldn’t jump on that train but I guess Benin and Uganda were more attractive.  It seems that LGBT Indians have no problem in adopting the Western pride flag and not just in a small way :

I have never had one before but my country of the day today is India for showing that things can really change and that diversity is nothing to be feared.

It would be remiss of me to not mention a post on LGBTQNation by Brody Levesque that mirrors how I feel in general about these ‘discussions’ about human rights;

“Instead, I have to ask a simple question: “When does it stop?”

I am tired of the non-stop barrage of hatred that spews out of the mouths of these high priced Washington D.C.-based lobby outfits, whose sole purpose is predicated on their belief that their God calls them to interfere with the private sexual lives and reproductive rights of their fellow citizens.

I’ve actually read that rather quaintly outdated bit of fictional literature, and no where does it command them to strip their neighbors of dignity, happiness, and pursuit of personal freedoms and expressions of love. Yet, in reality, this is precisely what Tony Perkins, Brian Brown, and a host of these alleged Christians and organizations campaign for.

Now, in fairness, LGBTQ people do present a “clear and present danger” to these organizations.

Simply? If being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, was treated as a condition of a variant of humanity, say like one’s skin color or hair color, the there would be no need to demonize LGBTQ persons.

No campaign, no threat — equals no money.

There is the unspoken truth that organized religions will not discuss. Its the proverbial elephant in the room, as most religions have stopped being a force for good and a loving outlet to ease a human’s path through life, and instead have become big business.

Which, I need to add, according to considerable recent study of this issue by a group of pollsters and journalists, has spent an amazing $1.4 billion dollars on just waging a war against the LGBTQ citizens of the United States since 1977.

Imagine if that sum had been spent instead on food, medicines, housing, clothing, or some other form of charitable work.”

Read the rest of the excellent article here.

November 17, 2010

A Good Reason for Caribbean Shame.

Some days I wake up and the news makes me cheery while other days it makes me really pissed. Today was one of the pissed days. I met an email in my inbox from the IGLHRC noting that they were ” deeply disappointed with yesterday’s vote in the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly to remove a reference to sexual orientation from a resolution on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.” Deeply disappointed with? Maybe they are afraid to say they are disgusted with the ill-informed piss poor states who supported the removal – I’m not . The motion was introduced by Benin which will now forever be associated with evil in my mind. Included in the list of supporters of the removal are such human rights luminaries as Iran, Afghanistan and China.

Most disturbing was the number of Caribbean states that chose to either support the removal of the clause or abstain. The Caribbean has good reason to be ashamed today and LGBT people should have a look at the list at the bottom of the release and know exactly what their government thinks of them. The Jamaican PM’s recent hints that he supports the rights of all people and T&T’s new government’s words about inclusiveness can now be exposed as the hypocrisy that they are.  Yet another fine example of the developing world showing the rest of the planet why no one should take it too seriously when it comes to human rights.

If there are any errors in this quick post I will correct them later – I am too pissed right now.

Via IGLHRC

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and ARC International are deeply disappointed with yesterday’s vote in the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly to remove a reference to sexual orientation from a resolution on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. The resolution urges States to protect the right to life of all people, including by calling on states to investigate killings based on discriminatory grounds. For the past 10 years, the resolution has included sexual orientation in the list of discriminatory grounds on which killings are often based.

The removed reference was originally contained in a non-exhaustive list in the resolution highlighting the many groups of people that are particularly targeted by killings – including persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities, persons acting as human rights defenders (such as lawyers, journalists or demonstrators) as well as street children and members of indigenous communities. Mentioning sexual orientation as a basis on which people are targeted for killing highlights a situation in which particular vigilance is required in order for all people to be afforded equal protection.

The amendment removing the reference to sexual orientation was sponsored by Benin on behalf of the African Group in the UN General Assembly and was adopted with 79 votes in favor, 70 against, 17 abstentions and 26 absent.

“This vote is a dangerous and disturbing development,” said Cary Alan Johnson, Executive Director of IGLHRC. “It essentially removes the important recognition of the particular vulnerability faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people – a recognition that is crucial at a time when 76 countries around the world criminalize homosexuality, five consider it a capital crime, and countries like Uganda are considering adding the death penalty to their laws criminalizing homosexuality.”

This decision in the General Assembly flies in the face of the overwhelming evidence that people are routinely killed around the world because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation, and renders these killings invisible or unimportant. The Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions has highlighted documented cases of extrajudicial killings on the grounds of sexual orientation including individuals facing the death penalty for consensual same-sex conduct; individuals tortured to death by State actors because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation; paramilitary groups killing individuals because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation as part of “social cleansing” campaigns; individuals murdered by police officers with impunity because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation; and States failing to investigate hate crimes and killings of persons because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation.

“It is a matter of great shame that the responsible Committee of the United Nations General Assembly failed in its responsibility to explicitly condemn well-documented killings based on sexual orientation,” said John Fisher, Co-Director of ARC international. “The credibility of the United Nations requires protection of all persons from violations of their fundamental human rights, including on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. We thank those States which supported the inclusion of sexual orientation in the text, and will redouble our collective efforts to ensure that Member States of the United Nations maintain the standards they have sworn to uphold.”

The amendment runs counter to other positive developments in UN and regional human rights systems where there is increased recognition of the need for protection from discrimination regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. At a September 2010 panel held in conjunction with a session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon unequivocally recognized “the particular vulnerability of individuals who face criminal sanctions, including imprisonment and in some cases the death penalty, on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Sixty-eight countries have also signed a joint statement in the UN General Assembly on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity which calls for an end to “human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity … in particular the use of the death penalty on this ground [and] extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.”

IGLHRC and ARC International urge all States, regardless of their vote on this amendment, to sign the UNGA joint statement affirming support of the human rights of all people, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity and to continue in efforts to decriminalize same-sex conduct and to end other discrimination, including violence, on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The votes to amend the resolution were as follows:

In favor of the amendment to remove sexual orientation from the resolution on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions (79):

Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belize, Benin, Botswana, Brunei Dar-Sala, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, China, Comoros, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guyana, Haiti, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uzbekistan, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Opposed to the amendment to remove sexual orientation from the resolution on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions (70):

Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bhutan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Micronesia (FS), Monaco, Montenegro, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela

Abstain (17):

Antigua-Barbuda, Barbados, Belarus, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Colombia, Fiji, Mauritius, Mongolia, Papau New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Vanuatu

Absent (26):

Albania, Bolivia, Central African Republic, Chad, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Marshall Island, Mauritania, Nauru, Nicaragua, Palau, Sao Tome Principe, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Togo, Tonga, Turkey, Turkmenistan