Posts tagged ‘vote’

March 23, 2011

UN Joint Statement of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

 

From African Activist

Via African Activist ( rapidly becoming my favorite site) ,

“Eighty-five nations endorsed the UN Joint Statement on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identitypresented by Colombia to the UN Human Rights Council, an inter-governmental body within the United Nations made up of 47 states. The statement was signed by the Central African Republic, Rwanda, and South Africa.”

As usual, in the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic was progressive. Surprisingly, Cuba also voted in support. The English Caribbean ( including T&T which continues to betray its alleged commitment to human rights)  was notably absent except for Dominica. I can only surmise that the normally homophobic Dominica either had a coup or someone pushed the wrong button.

Advertisements
February 9, 2011

CAISO|GSPOTTT – T&T Govt. not sure if it is opposed to killing gay people.

The good folks at CAISO|GSPOTTT have been trying to get an answer from the Government of Trinidad & Tobago as to why the country abstained in two separate UN 3rd Committee votes. As you may recall the matter revolved around a bloc of African and Muslim countries trying to remove a clause that protected persons from extrajudicial killing ( murder) as a result of their sexual orientation. After the protection was initially removed the United States stepped in and managed to turn the vote around.

What CAISO|GSPOTTT has discovered is that the government seems to be rather confused ( read: doesn’t know its ass from its elbow) on the matter:

Just in: Over the past seven weeks we’ve been following up repeatedly on your calls, emails, faxes and letters to our Min. of Foreign Affairs and United Nations mission. Our country abstained twice on UN votes regarding whether to condemn “extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions” (in more simple terms, murder) based on sexual orientation. We asked them to tell us why. After all, they had promised transparency and accountability in foreign policy.

Well, apparently our new Government isn’t sure whether we are opposed to killing gay people or not.

Read more in their Facebook note here.

As CAISO|GSPOTTT also notes this is the same government whose leader said ( just six days after being elected) :

Discrimination and unfairness does exist in our society but it affects so many rather just one community. It includes, but is certainly not limited to, racial bias.

Discrimination and prejudice is amorphous and has different sources and motivations: it may be based on gender, class, poverty, political affiliation, contact technology or who-yuh-know, locality, sexual orientation, victims of HIV and yes, race.

Read more here.


December 22, 2010

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.

Via CAISO | GSPOTTT

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.

 

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.