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U.S. Missing in Action on UN Declaration on LGBT Human Rights

The U.S. has declined to endorse a declaration being put before the UN assembly today, to which the Vatican and the Organisation of Islamic States have been vocal in their opposition, calling for the global decriminalisation of homosexuality.

EarthEDGE Boston reports:

"It will be tabled in the General Assembly on Wednesday by France with the backing of all 27 member states of the European Union; plus non-EU European nations such as Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, Ukraine, Andorra, Liechtenstein, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, Ukraine, Armenia and Macedonia. Russia and Turkey are not signing. The call for the decriminalisation of same-sex relationships also has the support of the Latin American states of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, Uruguay - but not, notably, Columbia, Peru, Guyana or Venezuela. Only three African nations--Gabon, Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau--are endorsing the declaration so far. South Africa has not signed up. No Caribbean nation has offered its support (not even Cuba). Although New Zealand is committed to the declaration, Australia is not. Nor is the United States. But Canada is a sponsor. No country in the Middle East, apart from Israel, endorses the declaration, and in Asia only Japan has agreed to approve it. China and India are silent on where they stand."

The Vatican has recently come under protest both in Rome and in the U.S. for its vocal opposition to the declaration.

The global petition initiative was launched by Prof. Louis-Georges Tin, president of the International Committee for IDAHO (the International Day Against Homophobia)

Said Peter Tatchell of London's activist group OutRage!: "It will be the first time in its history that the UN General Assembly has ever considered the issue of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) human rights."

The text of the declaration, AFTER THE JUMP...

TO THE UNITED NATIONS :

Petition “For a universal decriminalization of homosexuality”

Considering

The Universal declaration of Human Rights

Article 1.

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2.

Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

Article 3.

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Article 12.

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Considering

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (adopted by General Assembly resolution 2200A (XXI) of 16 December 1966, entry into force 23 March 1976)

Article 17

1. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his honour and reputation.

2. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Considering

The Human Rights Committee’s decision in Toonen v. Australia (04 April 1994)

We ask the United Nations to request a universal abolition of the so-called “crime of homosexuality”, of all “sodomy laws”, and laws against so-called “unnatural acts” in all the countries where they still exist.

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Comments

  1. "It will be the first time in its history that the UN General Assembly has ever considered the issue of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) human rights."

    And it won't be the last, eventually it will pass... that is the dark cloud's silver lining.

    I'm proud to be Canadian!

    Posted by: Pbar | Dec 10, 2008 10:13:19 AM


  2. The U.S. government siding with those who despise us queer folks. Never saw that one coming.....

    Posted by: MAJeff | Dec 10, 2008 10:14:23 AM


  3. The U.S will never sign something like this while Bush is in power. Hopefully things will be different under Obama.

    Posted by: RainbowPhoenix | Dec 10, 2008 10:21:14 AM


  4. The U.S will never sign something like this while Bush is in power. Hopefully things will be different under Obama.

    Posted by: RainbowPhoenix | Dec 10, 2008 10:21:45 AM


  5. It won't be different under Obama-
    sadly.
    What part of liberty and justice for ALL-
    does this country not understand?

    Posted by: Nick | Dec 10, 2008 10:38:40 AM


  6. The US, Russia, China, India, Australia and South Africa. The world's largest, most polluting, most influential nations. Stuck catering to the anachronistic, ignorant world views of their most undereducated, remote citizens.

    We need a huge plan to give everybody in the world a computer. That would help.

    Posted by: JeffRob | Dec 10, 2008 10:45:47 AM


  7. "...Organisation of Islamic States have been vocal in their opposition"

    Will I finally stop seeing "Queers for palestine" t-shirts and signs at gay events now? Why don't these idiots realize that every moslem country murders their gay citizens? yes...even palestine.

    Posted by: Myackie | Dec 10, 2008 11:02:44 AM


  8. Good to see that all the EU countires are on board (even Poland). What is intesting is seeing Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, Ukraine, Armenia and Macedonia on the list. Hopefully, Europeans can drag other countires kicking and screaming into the 21st century.

    I thought the USA would be on the list (being gay is not a crime in the USA it just lacks legal regonition), and not be in the smae group as Saudi Arabia and Iran.

    Posted by: EvilEuropean | Dec 10, 2008 11:21:59 AM


  9. This is so revealing. While hundreds (or perhaps thousands of GLBT folks worldwide are harrassed,humiliated,tortured and killed DAILY our openly gay politicians and multi-million dollar GLBT political organizations in Washington can't seem to have any influence on the UN. Sometimes our country just makes me sad with it's priorities.

    Posted by: SFshawn | Dec 10, 2008 11:43:32 AM


  10. I'm not a bit surprised by the actions of the US considering the current administration. We have often been on lists with Iran and Saudi Arabia rather than Europe when it comes to gay issues.

    I will say that I AM surprised by South Africa (due to their Constitution), Austrailia and Colombia (as opposed to the mispelled "Columbia" in the article).

    Posted by: Zeke | Dec 10, 2008 12:23:13 PM


  11. Is there an official statement fom the UN regarding why the US isn't endorsing this declaration? I checked around a couple places & didn't see anything. Anyone?

    Posted by: in2thevoid | Dec 10, 2008 12:23:17 PM


  12. Make that "misspelled".

    Nothing like "mispelling" "misspelled".

    Posted by: Zeke | Dec 10, 2008 12:35:53 PM


  13. Certainly this WILL change with the Obama administration.
    Perhaps now it has something to do with our current Ambassador to the UN?

    Zalmay Mamozy Khalilzad (Nastaliq: زلمی خلیلزاد - Zalmay Khalīlzād) (born: 22 March 1951) is the permanent United States Ambassador to the United Nations. He has been involved with U.S. policy makers at the White House since the early 1980s, and is the highest-ranking Afghan American and Muslim in the Administration of U.S. President George W. Bush.[1] Khalilzad's previous assignments in the Administration include U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq.

    I wouldn't be surprised if he were not a big supporter of gay rights (like his boss).

    Posted by: Kevinvt | Dec 10, 2008 12:37:49 PM


  14. IN2THEVOID,

    I don't know for sure but I would guess that it has something to do with the fact that the UN Ambassador from the US was appointed by George W. Bush who is in the pocket of the anti-gay religious right which supports recriminalizing homosexuality in the US while opposing everything from rescinding DADT to expanding existing hate crimes laws to protect GLBT people, who are proportionately the most likely group to be targeted for hate crimes.

    It seems pretty likely that that would have something to do with it.

    Posted by: Zeke | Dec 10, 2008 12:42:17 PM


  15. it's a french declaration from Rama Yade, the french foreign secretary for human rights.

    vive la France !

    Posted by: willyag | Dec 10, 2008 12:56:02 PM


  16. Usually, votes by the U.N. General Assembly are symbolic, but here the symbolism says a lot - it tells you, in black and white, whether particular state's government respects its gay citizens.

    Its an excellent gauge of how gay rights stands in the world. It presents a real challenge - that gay rights are making real headway in Europe and even in Latin America, but the situation in the rest of the world is truly bleak.

    While I commend France's government, the current voting positions of most world governments ought to be a wake up call to first world advocates.

    DU

    Posted by: The Mechanical Eye | Dec 10, 2008 1:32:01 PM


  17. Wow, I find this a complete outrage that the United States of America has bowed out of joining hands with most of the civilized world to reject arcane laws against homosexuality. It is scary to think that our Ambassador to the UN could wield so much power in making this decision as it represents the stand of an entire nation. I'm really hoping this kind of bigotry ends with our new President.

    Posted by: JFANYC | Dec 10, 2008 1:52:21 PM


  18. I'm very surprised that Australia is not backing this. It's quite sad that countries like Australia and the US aren't.

    Makes me proud to be a New Zealander! At least our government supports us :)

    Posted by: Dan | Dec 10, 2008 3:19:15 PM


  19. But haven't we always blocked gay-positive moves? Didn't we help torpedo ILGA's consultative status at least once?

    Posted by: KevinVT | Dec 10, 2008 7:26:52 PM


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