UN restores reference to sexual orientation in violence policy – UPDATED

UPDATE: Paul Canning has this story from all angles. He has the vote changes listed and notes that 47 countries switched votes from the last time this issue came up.

His summary demonstrates the striking changes in votes from the first time around when sexual orientation was removed as a basis for condemning executions.

This means that 23 nations changed their vote to yes, 15 didn’t vote no and nine more abstained – 47 in total went in a positive direction. This is a quarter of the UN membership.

  • One third of African countries changed their vote positively, including Rwanda and Angola voting yes.聽
  • Almost the whole of the Caribbean changed their vote positively, including Jamaica.

In the debate at the UN the most moving contribution was from the Rwandan delegate who said that a group does not need to be “legally defined” to be targeted for massacres and referenced his countries experience. “We can’t continue to hide our heads in the sand” he said.”These people have a right to life.”

“These people have a right to life,” said the Rwandan delegate. Will this sentiment spread to neighboring nations, including Uganda? We shall see…

This just in from Reuters…

The United States succeeded on Tuesday in getting the United Nations to restore a reference to killings due to sexual orientation that had been deleted from a resolution condemning unjustified executions.

Western delegations were disappointed last month when the U.N. General Assembly’s human rights committee approved an Arab and African proposal to cut the reference to slayings due to sexual orientation from a resolution on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions.

The committee’s move also had outraged human rights activists and groups that lobby for gay rights. Philippe Bolopion of Human Rights Watch (HRW) said at the time that it was a “step backwards” and “extremely disappointing.”

The 192-nation General Assembly approved a U.S. amendment to the resolution that restored the reference to sexual orientation with 93 votes in favor, 55 against and 27 abstentions. The amended resolution was then adopted with 122 yes votes, none against and 59 abstentions.

The main opposition to the U.S. amendment came from Muslim and African nations, which had led the push to delete the reference to sexual preference from the resolution last month.