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United Nations Human Rights Council Approves LGBT Rights Resolution: READ

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Earlier today the United Nations Human Rights Commission approved 25-14 a resolution opposing anti-LGBT violence and discrimination, The Washington Blade reports:

VoteThe U.S., along with Argentina, Austria, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Montenegro, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, South Africa, Macedonia, the U.K., Venezuela and Vietnam voted for the proposal. Algeria, Botswana, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Gabon, Indonesia, Kenya, Kuwait, Maldives, Morocco, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates opposed it.

Burkina Faso, China, Congo, India, Kazakhstan, Namibia and Sierra Leone abstained.

The U.N. Human Rights Council before the final vote rejected seven proposed amendments put forth by Egypt, Uganda, Pakistan, South Sudan and other countries that sought to strip LGBT-specific language from the proposal

Said U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power:

I am very pleased that the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution today to combat discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons. This is only the second time in its history the Human Rights Council has adopted a resolution on LGBT rights, and the first time it has done so with a majority of its members. This resolution mandates a much-needed UN report that will investigate and bring to the world’s attention the violence and discrimination faced by individuals around the world simply because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

Read the resolution, AFTER THE JUMP...

Buzzfeed adds that much attention was paid to South Africa's vote - due to recent concerns that the country might slowly be turning away from its pro-LGBT status in the region. The country ultimately voted for the resolution, but LGBT activists close to the negotiations said it worked to water down the resolution before the vote. 

MintyIn remarks delivered following the vote, South African Ambassador Abdul Samad Minty [pictured] made clear he felt squeezed by its historic commitment to LGBT rights — it was the first country in the world to protect LGBT rights in its constitution — and a desire to preserve relationships with other African countries that have recently enacted severe anti-LGBT laws like Uganda and Nigeria.

“South Africa believes that no person should fear for their safety or be deprived of their dignity because of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” Minty said, but blasted “divisive” steps taken by some donor nations to “use development aid to shift policies and laws in some countries,” an apparent reference to adjustments made by the United States and some European countries in contributions to Uganda following enactment of its Anti-Homosexuality Act earlier this year.

[vote count photo via Twitter]

Continue reading "United Nations Human Rights Council Approves LGBT Rights Resolution: READ" »


Will South Africa Become a Roadblock To International LGBT Rights?

South Africa, which was once an essential nation to advancing LGBTI rights in international diplomacy, has since become a potential roadblock, according to Huffington Post.

South africaIn 2011, South Africa sponsored a resolution before the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) that, for the first time, recognized LGBTI rights as human rights. Supporters of the resolution believed that it required at least one prominent African backer in order to prevent it playing into the hands of LGBTI rights opponents in Africa and other parts of the world.

However, when an updated version of the resolution was tabled last week at a HRC meeting, South Africa’s name was not on it. With a vote expected this week, some LGBTI rights supporters are now concerned that South Africa  could turn against the resolution.

This comes following a move by South Africa’s ruling African National Congress party to block a parliamentary motion to condemn Uganda’s severe anti-gay laws - which have since been struck down.

According to Mmapeseka Steve Letsike, a lesbian activist who chairs the South African National AIDS Council’s Civil Society Forum:

“We currently have leadership that fails to represent the ethos of what the constitution says and the equality principles they have to uphold. We have leadership going out of this country putting their personal beliefs before its own people. We have leaders that fail to protect their own.”

MandelaSome South African activists regard these decisions to move away from supporting LGBTI rights internationally as part of a larger trend in the country’s leadership.

While Nelson Mandela and other leaders of the African National Congress embraced LGBTI rights, that commitment is not as strong among the younger generation of leaders, most notably President Jacob Zuma, who called same-sex marriage “a disgrace to the nation and to God” around the time the unions won legal recognition in the country.

The resolution’s supporters are optimistic that they will have the votes to pass the resolution and nobody believes it is possible that South Africa would vote against it on the final vote. It could abstain on a final vote or vote for a procedural motion that would kill the resolution by denying an up or down vote — exactly what it did to keep the inclusive language out of the Protection of the Family resolution in June.

The lack of support for the updated HRC resolution actually comes at a time that there is a new commitment from the government to fighting anti-LGBTI hate crimes inside the country, spurred by a series of horrific rapes and murders of black lesbians.


One Year On: The United Nations LGBT Advocacy Campaign 'Free And Equal' - VIDEO

The welcome UN Human Rights LGBT campaign

On July 26th, 2013, the United Nations Human Rights office launched "Free and Equal," an unprecedented global public education campaign aiming to combat violence and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people around the world.

Free&equalThe campaign has included a Bollywood gay marriage video The Welcome and the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

What's happened since the campaign's launch?

Watch the video to find out, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "One Year On: The United Nations LGBT Advocacy Campaign 'Free And Equal' - VIDEO" »


Documentary 'Golf Alpha Yankee' Exposes Extreme Anti-Gay Laws In Iran: WATCH

Golf alpha yankee

The documentary Golf Alpha Yankee exposes extremely harsh anti-gay laws in Iran.

Homosexuality in Iran is legally punishable with imprisonment, torture and execution.

Golf Alpha Yankee "provides an intimate immersion into the world of LGBT people from Iran, who were forced to flee their home country, and are now waiting in limbo in conservative Turkey as asylum seekers with the United Nations. They hope to receive resettlement in the west, where they may one day be free to love without penalty."

A Kickstarter campaign has been set up to fund the post-production costs of the documentary

Watch the trailer for Golf Alpha Yankee, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Documentary 'Golf Alpha Yankee' Exposes Extreme Anti-Gay Laws In Iran: WATCH" »


LGBTQ Families Dealt Major Blow at the United Nations

The United Nations Human Rights Council’s “Protection of the Family” resolution passed Thursday has the potential to become the groundwork for LGBT discrimination under international law. Uganda, Egypt, and Russia are among the countries responsible for the creation of the resolution, many of whom have explicitly anti-LGBT track records. This comes only a few weeks after the U.N. unanimously elected Uganda’s Foreign Minister Sam Kutsea, an ardent opponent of LGBT rights, as president for its 69th session.

Flag_of_the_United_Nations.svgThough the resolution does not limit its definition of a singular family to those consisting of one man and one woman, attempts at re-wording the language to be more inclusive have been blocked despite being supported by France, Ireland, and Chile. In not clearly articulating a recognition of different kinds of families, “Protection of the Family” carries the potential of being used to ignore families headed by same-sex couples, single parents, extended family members, or non-biological legal guardians.

The resolution is being held up as proof that there is global opposition to what is often perceived as a bullishly pro-LGBT rights agenda being led by the bulk of Europe and the United States.

“The defeat of various forms of the family demonstrates that the UN is weary of these kinds of debates,” Said Austin Ruse of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute. “Most of the member states would like to move on to issues that concern the whole world and not just elites in the [global] North.”

“It is a travesty for the UN to ignore reality,” said Julie de Rivero, director of advocacy for Human Rights Watch with the Human Rights Council. “Insinuating that different type of families don’t exist can do nothing but harm the children and adults around the world who live in those families.”

Read the resolution below:

Resolution on Protection of the Family by jlfeder


United Nations Calls on Gay World Cup Players to Come Out

United Nations Human Rights commissioner Navi Pillay said Monday that gay soccer players at the World Cup in Brazil should come out and declare their sexuality to help foster global LGBT visibility and equality.

Navi pillayReuters reports:

"I encourage players, sports people to declare their sexual orientation without fear," she told reporters in Geneva.

"That's the only way they will find the right to sexual orientation accepted. They are role models, it's important to send this message to their fans as well," Pillay said, adding that it was "a shame, in this day and age", that people "had to hide who they really are".

Pillay also warned that governments bidding for major sporting competitions need to give more thought to how their bid would affect human rights in their country. 

"They risk becoming hubs of human rights violations, including misuse of public funds, child labour, forced evictions, and demolition and the sexual exploitation of human beings including children in the surge of tourism," Pillay said, without naming any particular city.

The UN's concerns over the intersection of human rights and sporting events will likely continue into the foreseeable future as FIFA’s decision to select Qatar as host country for the 2022 World Cup has come under heavy criticism – at least in part due to the country’s laws making homosexuality illegal.

There are currently no openly gay players participating in this year’s World Cup, although a few former athletes such as Germany’s Thomas Hitzlsperger and our own Robbie Rogers played in the World Cup before coming out. 


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