U.S. Supports the United Nations Resolution “Basic Human Rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Persons”
In an official press release from the White House that concurs with the United Nations resolution dedicated to advancing the basic human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons. On June 17, 2011 the Office of the Press Secretary provided an official Statement by the President of the United States on the UN Human Rights Council Resolution on Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.
President Obama declared, “Today, for the first time in history, the United Nations adopted a resolution dedicated to advancing the basic human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons. This marks a significant milestone in the long struggle for equality, and the beginning of a universal recognition that LGBT persons are endowed with the same inalienable rights — and entitled to the same protections — as all human beings. The United States stands proudly with those nations that are standing up to intolerance, discrimination, and homophobia. Advancing equality for LGBT persons should be the work of all peoples and all nations. LGBT persons are entitled to equal treatment, equal protection, and the dignity that comes with being full members of our diverse societies. As the United Nations begins to codify and enshrine the promise of equality for LGBT a person, the world becomes and more humane place for all people.’
The United Nations Action on Resolution on Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.
In a resolution (A/HRC/17/L.9/Rev.1) regarding human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity, adopted by a vote of 23 in favour, 19 against, and 3 abstentions, the Council requests the High Commissioner to commission a study to be finalised by December 2011 to document discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity, in all regions of the world, and how international human rights law can be used to end violence and related human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity; decides to convene a panel discussion during the nineteenth session of the Human Rights Council, informed by the facts contained in the study commissioned by the High Commissioner and to have constructive, informed and transparent dialogue on the issue of discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity; and decides also that the panel will also discuss the appropriate follow-up to the recommendations of the study commissioned by the High Commissioner.
JERRY MATTHEWS MATJILA (South Africa), introducing draft resolution L.9 Rev 1, said that dialogue was an extremely powerful tool when dealing with a difficult subject matter.
Mr. MATJILA presented to the UN council that, “Persons should not be subjected to discrimination or violence based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. The resolution did not seek to impose values on Members States but sought to initiate a dialogue which would contribute to ending discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation, gender identity or gender identity.”
“In South African non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity was constitutionally protected. Despite this there were still challenges relating to violence against such individuals. South Africa believed that intergovernmental dialogue could find ways to address this subject. Further, although South Africa was a predominantly Christian society, all religions were treated the same; and although South Africa was predominantly a black country, all racial groups enjoyed equal rights.” Jerry reminded us.
He continued with, “It further noted in relation to apartheid that when some were imprisoned moral and political support was received from all sections of the world; South Africans never said that they could not accept support on the basis of gender identify. South Africa stressed that the United Nations was the common parliament for the international community and as such it should discuss complex and difficult issues.”
Explaining further Mr. MATJILA clarified, “The resolution called for the UN Human Rights Council to offer an opportunity to the international community to have a factual based dialogue relating to discrimination against those who had different sexual orientation or gender identity. South Africa requested that the Commission put together a fact based study, the outcome of which should form the basis of the discussion in 2012. South Africa noted that the co-sponsors for the draft resolution were Brazil United Kingdom, Uruguay, Germany, Serbia, United States, Denmark, Netherlands, Italy, Ireland, Switzerland, Israel Canada, France, Czech Republic Australia, Austria, Croatia, Luxemburg, Portugal, Argentina, and Greece.”
MARIA NAZARETH FARANI AZEVEDO (Brazil), also introducing draft resolution L.9 Rev. 1, congratulated South Africa for its leadership on this initiative and the constructive and transparent work on this draft resolution.
Maria added, “This was the spirit that presided over work on draft resolution L.9 Rev. 1. The resolution reflected the aspiration of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights that all human beings are born with equal dignity and rights and the importance of condemning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Brazil reiterated the importance of discussing perspectives; it was high time to move from perspectives to improve understanding on the basis of transparent dialogue. This was the proposal contained in this draft resolution which aimed at creating a place for dialogue, promoting a better understanding and contributing to make the commitment to ensure respect for human rights a reality.”
In a crucial effort to bring equality to (LGBT) the UN Human Rights Committee, which is responsible for the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)has made this resolution a top priority. With Homosexuality currently illegal in 76 countries and punishable by death in five, the UN declared that such laws are in violation of human rights law.
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