It’s ridiculous this hasn’t received more coverage. It’s absurd that it happened last week and I’m just hearing about it now (thanks for the tip, Dechene!).
In a nutshell, every two years the United Nations General Assembly passes a resolution condemning extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions. The resolution includes specific mention of groups meriting special consideration for not-killing, including “national or ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities”, “refugees, internally displaced persons,migrants, street children or members of indigenous communities” and “Human rights defenders, lawyers, journalists or demonstrators”.
For the past decade, this resolution has contained special mention of “all killings committed for any discriminatory reason, including sexual orientation”.
This year, African and Islamic countries ganged up to put the kibosh on those three words in a 79-70 vote. “Blah blah redundant blah technicality blah,” they said.
The Reuters story from last week is here. From that:
The resolution, which is expected to be formally adopted by the General Assembly in December, specifies many other types of violence, including killings for racial, national, ethnic, religious or linguistic reasons and killings of refugees, indigenous people and other groups.
“It’s a step backwards and it’s extremely disappointing that some countries felt the need to remove the reference to sexual orientation, when sexual orientation is the very reason why so many people around the world have been subjected to violence,” said Philippe Bolopion of Human Rights Watch.
Want more? Patrick Strudwick’s analysis in the Guardian is spot-on:
it’s not just cowardice and “cultural respect” taken to its unethical extreme here. Until there are some common beliefs agreed on between member states over the nature of homosexuality, any hope for progressive dialogue is severely impaired.
Many member states don’t recognise homosexuality as a concept or an identity. The belief, too, that homosexuality is a western “problem” or “disease” is widespread. More endemic, particularly in Africa and the Middle East, is the notion that being gay is a choice. This is why American “reparative therapists” – those who believe homosexuality is a “broken” sexuality that can be “cured” by prayer and therapy – have been welcomed in Uganda and Kenya to whip up anti-gay sentiment.
Finally, who voted and how is in this press release from the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission. And here’s the unrevised UN resolution so you can see how the changes work in context.