OK, kiddo! Here are all the fantastically amazing posts tagged with United Nations
The International Gay and Lesbian Association, one of the world’s oldest GLBT equal rights organisations, has finally won consultive status to the UN Economic and Social Council, after years of trying.
The group had actually gained consultative status back in 1993, only to have it taken away in 1994. A bit of a tease, really, but then again, this is the era that thought Mrs. Doubtfire was the pinnacle of comedy.
Anyway, 17 years later, the group is finally back in with an impressive vote of 30 to 16 against. Countries voting against included Iraq, Morocco, Namibia, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Bangladesh, Cameroon, China, Egypt, and Ghana. Those for included India, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Malta, Mexico, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Norway, Peru, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Venezuela, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada (yay!), Chile, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, and Hungary.
Congratulations to the IGLA! The UN may have about as much power as their shadow clubs formed in elementary schools across the globe, but it still says something about attitude progression worldwide, and that’s nifty enough for me!
The United Nations, for the first time in history, endorsed the equal rights of GLBT people worldwide, condemning any country who discriminates or harms people for their sexual orientation.
Well, it’s about time!
The resolution passed only narrowly, with 23 votes in favour, 19 against, and 3 abstentions. Nonetheless, it’s solid evidence that the world is becoming more tolerant. Countries that voted in favour were: Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, France, Guatemala, Hungary, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Poland, South Korea, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, and Uruguay.
If you’ve noticed that Canada is not on this list, don’t panic! Canada simply isn’t on the UN’s Human Rights Council this year.
Speaking of membership, though, here’s a neat little list of countries that have—as far as I’m concerned—announced themselves as basically having no business being on the UN’s Human Rights Council to begin with: Angola, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Djibouti, Gabon, Ghana, Jordan, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Republic of Moldova, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, and Uganda.
So, if any of you are planning a summer vacation to Nigeria, I’d like to suggest that you perhaps consider somewhere like, maybe, France instead.
- UN backs gay rights for first time ever [Updated News]
The United Nations has voted to remove sexual orientation from a resolution against immoral executions. Sexual orientation had been on the list for the past ten years, alongside religion, ethnicity, and language as unacceptable reasons to execute civilians.
The motion, which was introduced by Morocco and Mali, was supported by 79 countries, opposed by 70, and there were 17 to abstain.
Looking over the list, I found very few surprises, with the exception of South Africa, which voted in favour of removing gays from execution protections despite having legalized same-sex marriage in 2006 via parliamentary vote. I’m not under the impression that South Africa has solved all of its homophobia problems, but their vote is a pretty bizarre contradiction and certainly a large step backwards.
At any rate, if you need a good reason why human rights issues should never be put to a vote, this seems like a pretty compelling demonstration. The deletion sends a baffling message to the world, easily interpretable as a sort of OK to executing gays simply for having a different sexual orientation.
Good thing the UN doesn’t have any real power. Still, I guess this means I should cancel my vacation to Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belize, Benin, Botswana, Brunei Dar-Salam, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, China, Comoros, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guyana, Haiti, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uzbekistan, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. (And I was so looking forward to it, too.)
(Special thanks to Slap reader Alex for the story!)
- The United Nations of homophobia [National Post]
- UN deletes gay reference from anti-execution measures [Pink News]
The United States government has indicated that it will finally sign a U.N. document denouncing the criminalization of homosexuality worldwide.
This new move will reverse a bizarre decision made by the Bush administration in December, where the United States broke ranks with the majority of U.N. members (including every European country, as well as all North, South, and Central American nations—excluding the island of Saint Lucia) in refusing to sign the symbolic document.
The anti-gay lobby group, Family Research Council, is, of course, enraged:
Adding to the long list of Bush positions that are now history, the Associated Press reports that the Obama administration will reverse Bush’s policy and endorse a nonbinding U.N. declaration to “protect” homosexuals. [...] Press reports emphasize that the declaration calls for the “decriminalization” of homosexuality, a policy already forced on the U.S. by a 2003 Supreme Court decision.
Ah, yes, don’t we all wax nostalgic now and then for the good ol’ days when U.S. laws were more like those of Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, and North Korea? Those halcyon days when gays like me were simply locked away where no one had to concern themselves over our existence. Surely those were simpler times—before that mean old Obama marched on in, tore that cooling pie right off the window sill, and sucker punched grandma in the ribs.
A super hat tip to JJ at Unrepentant Old Hippie for digging up the story.
- UN Statement on “Human Rights, Sexual Orientation, and Gender Identity” [US Department of State]
- Queer Eye for the State Guy? [Family Research Council]
Fresh off the Vatican’s refusal to support a UN statement decrying the criminalization of homosexuality, the United States is stalling their signature approving the symbolic declaration.
While the United States has plenty of precedent to sign the statement, including a similar declaration before the 2006 Human Rights Council in Geneva, the delay is unusual—and the deadline is looming.
Over 50 countries worldwide have signed the declaration, including Canada. The U.S. might be a little slow, but that’s forgivable; they’re in the middle of a somewhat important transition, those cuties.
- U.S. stalls signing U.N. gay rights statement [Washington Blade]
David Quist, the executive director of the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada lobby group, has said that Ottawa should reject a UN declaration opposing the criminalization of homosexuality.
The Institute of Marriage and Family Canada was, of course, a furious opponent of same-sex marriage in Canada, as well as an opponent of adding sexual orientation to the list of identifiable minorities protected from hate crimes. But don’t go thinking their opposition to the UN measure is motivated by anti-gay sentiment; oh my no. David Quist explains their real motivation:
The UN shouldn’t be unilaterally attempting to change the laws of a sovereign country. [...] Any laws that Canadians change should be debated by Canadians.
Aw, how nice. They just don’t want to meddle with other countries’ laws.
Of course, over 85 countries jail or fine people just for being gay, and several even impose the death penalty, but that’s really none of the world’s business, is it?
And, of course, the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada would never, ever influence, condemn, or support another nation’s laws. I’m sure the front page of their website would never contain two articles written by Andrea Mrozek, the Institute’s manager of communications, decrying New Zealand’s decriminalization of prostitution, as well as an article supporting the banning of same-sex marriage via constitutional amendment in three U.S. states, and another lamenting the passing of Washington’s Death with Dignity Act.
Why that would make them a… what’s the word again?
- Gay activists urge Ottawa to sign global declaration [Canada.com]
The Vatican is opposing a French-led U.N. resolution that calls on worldwide governments to abolish laws that criminalize homosexuality. Many developing countries around the world still imprison gay people just for being gay, and several even go as far to enforce a death penalty.
Celestino Migliore, a Vatican spokesperson, justified the church’s support for persecuting gay people by saying that de-criminalization would “create new and implacable discriminations.” “For example,” he said, “states which do not recognize same-sex unions as matrimony will be pilloried and made an object of pressure.”
Franco Grillini, leader of Italy’s largest gay rights group, was astonished by the Vatican’s reasoning, calling it “madness”:
The Vatican’s reasoning smacks of total idiocy and madness. The French resolution, which is supported by all 27 members of the European Union, has nothing to do with gay marriage. It is about stopping jail and the death penalty for homosexuals.
After making their statement, Vatican officials retreated back into the hall of the most amazingly homoerotic artwork ever.
- Vatican attacked for opposing gay decriminalization [Reuters Canada]
By a vote of 22 countries in support to 13 against, CGLQ will now be able to access UN buildings, attend meetings, submit reports, and address the UN in ways otherwise impossible. The group will use this opportunity to educate and speak out against attrocities committed against gays worldwide.
Alongside CGLQ, The Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights (RFSL) was also granted consultive status, though an extra country voted against them.
Say, what do they have against the Swedish?
Today, on Slap Upside The Head’s The Wonderful World of Bigotry, we bring news of the UN’s decision to grant observer status to the Coalition gaie et lesbienne du Québec (CGLQ)!
By an 8 to 6 vote, the result is: nay.
That’s right folks, UN representatives for Egypt, Guinea, Pakistan, Qatar, Sudan, Burundi, China and Russia have decided that the rest of the world doesn’t want to hear out gay Canadians. While no reason was revealed for the nay votes, Yvan Lapointe, spokesperson for CGLQ had some insight:
They said they lost our file. They claimed they did not receive our e-mails. It was only after the Canadian mission got involved that they started to find things.
Yvan, who was understandably disappointed by the vote, was also concerned by the attitudes toward gays in other nations: “The delegate from Egypt told me they don’t have a gay problem in his country because there are no gays there.” Egypt, notably, has come under fire by Amnesty International for detaining suspected gay men.
As for CGLQ, I guess there’s still the backup plan: Found the nation of Gaybonia.
- Muslim countries at UN reject Canadian gay activist group [Canada.com]
- Canada Protests UN rejection of gay group [National Post]
Montreal gay groups are anxiously awaiting a decision from the UN Economic Social Council on whether or not three gay rights organisations will get consultive status at the UN. Consultive status would allow the groups to formally address the international community.
Encouragingly, Lousie Arbor, the UN high commissioner for human rights, spoke at the International Conference on LGBT Human Rights last month.
I hope that [my speech] will send a signal to the entire world community that we have to be very present to those who historically and currently today are still—if not totally—voiceless and very much the victims of exclusion and marginalization.
Well, here’s hoping for a positive outcome! Addressing the UN would be a powerful statement. I can see it now… “Dear countries that oppress and harm us: Seriously, stop it.”