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Conchita Wurst Performs at UN for Secretary-General, Dignitaries: VIDEO

Wurst

Earlier we reported that Eurovision winner and drag queen Conchita Wurst met with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the UN in Vienna after Ban praised her work for LGBT and human rights.

Wurst also performed Cher's "Believe" and "Rise Like a Phoenix", her winning Eurovision song.

Watch her performance, as well as Ban Ki-moon's full remarks, AFTER THE JUMP...

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UN Secretary-General Praises Conchita Wurst and Her Human Rights Advocacy

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This morning in Vienna, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hosted a meeting with Eurovision's Conchita Wurst. Reunters reports Secretary-General Ban praised Wurst for her talent, as well as what she represents from a human rights perspective.

Despite the UN's somewhat uneven track record on gay issues, this news is the latest in a consistant trend of good news for LGBT people out of the U.N.

Secretary-General Ban thanked Wurst for turning Eurovision into a "moment of human rights education." 

Said Ban: 

This year I extended benefits to same-sex partners of U.N. staff members... Discrimination has no place in the United Nations...When I heard that [Wurst] won this Eurovision song contest I immediately knew that she was a star of the world.

Reuters points out Ban's endorsement is particularly meaningful at a time when global tensions over LGBT issues are rising. They quote a confidant of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who criticized Wurst, saying she symbolised "ethno-fascism," and a "decadent agenda" that the West tries to impose. 

[photo via Twitter]


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...

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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...

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