September 25, 2014 at 11:25 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
U.N. Human Rights Council to vote on LGBT resolution

United Nations Human Rights Council, gay news, Washington Blade

(Photo by United States Mission Geneva; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

The U.N. Human Rights Council on Friday is expected to vote on a proposed resolution that expresses “grave concern” over anti-LGBT violence and discrimination.

Brazil, Uruguay, Chile and Colombia earlier this month formally proposed the resolution. The U.S., Israel, Australia and New Zealand are among the more than 40 countries that support it.

A draft of the proposed resolution the Washington Blade has obtained 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.” It also notes “positive developments at international, regional and national levels” to combat anti-LGBT violence and discrimination.

The proposed resolution “takes note with appreciation” the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights’ 2011 report on anti-LGBT discrimination and violence. It calls upon the body to update it “with a view to sharing good practices and ways to overcome violence and discrimination” and present those findings to the U.N. Human Rights Council.

Egypt, Uganda, Pakistan and South Sudan are among the countries that have sought amendments to the proposed resolution that would eliminate LGBT-specific references from it.

Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday said at a meeting on anti-LGBT violence during the U.N. General Assembly that the U.S. is “giving our full support” for the resolution.

“We have to acknowledge a fundamental truth that LGBT violence anywhere is a threat to peace and stability and prosperity everywhere,” he said.

Marianne Møllmann, director of programs for the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, told the Blade on Thursday the resolution is important because LGBT people are “systematically targeted and abused” around the world.

“We do need the Human Rights Council to fulfill its responsibility to deal with the violations that people face because of their sexual orientation and gender identity,” she said.

Andrés Ignacio Duarte Rivera, a Chilean transgender rights advocate, told the Blade earlier this week from Geneva where the expected vote will take place that he welcomes his country’s role in building support for the resolution. He specifically singled out Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and Marta Maurás, the South American country’s permanent U.N. representative in Genera, for their support of LGBT rights.

“Chile for the first time is leading a SOGI (sexual orientation and gender identity) resolution,” Rivera told the Blade.

The U.N. Human Rights Council in 2011 narrowly approved an LGBT rights resolution that South Africa introduced.

The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights in 2013 launched a public education campaign designed to increase support for LGBT rights around the world. Gay Puerto Rican singer Ricky Martin and Bollywood actress Celina Jaitly are among those who appear in the “Free & Equal” campaign.

“This is just not something new that I just took up,” Jaitly told the Blade earlier this year, discussing why she decided to participate in the campaign. “I just thought of it as a platform to amplify my voice.”

President Obama on Wednesday broadly referenced gay rights during his address to the U.N. General Assembly.

“I’ve seen a longing for positive change – for peace and freedom and opportunity – in the eyes of young people I’ve met around the globe,” he said. “They remind me that no matter who you are, or where you come from, or what you look like, or what God you pray to, or who you love, there is something fundamental that we all share.”

The U.N. Human Rights Council in June approved a resolution on “Protection of the Family” that Egypt spearheaded. Russia and Uganda are among the countries that co-sponsored it.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

1 Comment
  • The proposed resolution “takes note with appreciation” the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights’ 2011 report on anti-LGBT discrimination and violence. It calls upon the body to update it “with a view to sharing good practices and ways to overcome violence and discrimination” and present those findings to the U.N. Human Rights Council…
    President Obama on Wednesday broadly referenced gay rights during his address to the U.N. General Assembly. “I’ve seen a longing for positive change – for peace and freedom and opportunity – in the eyes of young people I’ve met around the globe,” he said. “They remind me that no matter who you are, or where you come from, or what you look like, or what God you pray to, or who you love, there is something fundamental that we all share.”
    ===============================================================
    Sadly, this is party of the larger international story the Blade will likely be reporting on for many years into the future. So it’s good we get this important news coverage while diplomatic efforts at the UN are in their early, historic stages.
     
    It’s also good to think beyond the securing of Marriage Equality and comprehensive civil rights protections for LGBTs in the United States.
     
    These UN-based initiatives should be encouraged and expanded, of course. The United States can and should make LGBT equality consciousness an integral part of its diplomatic toolbox, as well. And I hope our premier American LGBT civil rights organization (HRC, Freedom to Marry, AFER, Get Equal, NGLTF, GLAAD, GLSEN, etc) are all thinking about ways their organizations can expand their missions to help LGBT NGOs on a worldwide platform.

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