December 14, 2016 at 6:27 pm EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Russia blocks statement thanking Ban Ki-moon for LGBT advocacy

United Nations LGBT Core Group, gay news, Washington Blade

Russia on Dec. 14, 2016, blocked a statement from the U.N. Security Council that would have specifically thanked outgoing U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for his advocacy in support of LGBT and intersex rights. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Russia on Wednesday blocked the U.N. Security Council from specifically thanking outgoing U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for his support of LGBT and intersex rights.

Reuters reported the U.S. was among the countries that sought an LGBT-inclusive statement.

“It is thanks to you, Mr. Secretary-General, that women, young people and the LGBT community have been heard and assisted, and today their voices sound louder and stronger in this headquarters and around the world,” read the statement.

Reuters reported the U.N. Security Council agreed to a statement that referenced “the most vulnerable or marginalized have been increasingly heard and assisted by the United Nations.”

Ban: Anti-sodomy laws ‘breed intolerance’

The U.N. has become a vocal supporter of LGBT rights under Ban’s tenure that began in 2007.

The U.N. Human Rights Council in 2011 approved an LGBT rights resolution.

A second resolution against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity was adopted in 2014. Vitit Muntarbhorn, an international law professor at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, in September became the U.N.’s first-ever LGBT rights watchdog.

Ban, Vice President Biden and Chilean President Michelle Bachelet are among those who spoke at an event the U.N. LGBT Core Group held in September on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly. The gathering was the highest-level meeting on LGBT rights that has ever taken place at the U.N.

The U.N. in 2013 launched its “Free & Equal” campaign to promote LGBT rights around the world. Ban said during a 2015 speech in New Delhi, India, that anti-sodomy laws “breed intolerance.”

The U.S. and Chile in 2015 co-hosted the U.N. Security Council’s first-ever meeting on an LGBT-specific issue that focused on the so-called Islamic State’s ongoing persecution of LGBT Syrians and Iraqis.

The U.N. Security Council in June condemned the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando, Fla. The statement marks the first time the U.N. Security Council specifically denounced violence based on sexual orientation.

“Ban Ki-moon did not come into the job of secretary-general as a champion of LGBTI rights,” said U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power on Monday in a speech that, among other things, praised Ban’s commitment to LGBT rights. “But, when he heard the way LGBTI people were discriminated against because of who they are and who they love — bullied by classmates and neighbors, fired from jobs, denied basic services, and physically attacked or even killed — he became a zealous defender of their rights.”

A U.N. budget committee in 2015 overwhelmingly rejected a Russia-sponsored resolution that sought to overturn Ban’s decision to extend spousal benefits to gay U.N. personnel who are legally married. Efforts to suspend Muntarbhorn failed last month.

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

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