The UN Human Rights Council, represented by 85 countries from every region of the world, strongly condemned violence against LGBT persons and affirmed that human rights apply to gays and lesbians yesterday during its annual meeting in Geneva. The Council’s reiterated condemnation of violence perpetrated against LGBT persons was levied during the same week the Uganda Parliament is expected to take up its “kill the gays” bill, perhaps a warning to Ugandan officials.
Led by the United States, Colombia and Slovenia, The Council’s strong support to affirm the human rights of LGBT people grew by 30 countries (since a vote in 2006,) with growing support from Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe, including the Russian Federation and the six countries of the Former Yugoslavia, where egregious violence has been perpetrated against gays in Sarajevo and Belgrade.
Last night, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a statement of support:
Today, 85 countries from every region of the world joined together in a historic moment to state clearly that human rights apply to everyone, no matter who they are or whom they love.
Clinton reiterated her June Pride 2010 statement that “gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights” and further said:
We will continue to promote human rights around the world for all people who are marginalized and discriminated against because of sexual orientation or gender identity. And we will not rest until every man, woman and child is able to live up to his or her potential free from persecution or discrimination of any kind.
While Clinton has clearly stepped up her rhetoric and policy initiatives on behalf of women and girls during the past few weeks in a nod to International Women’s Day, she has become a global champion for LGBT rights as Secretary of State, making U.S. passports easier to obtain by transsexuals, taking steps to provide increased benefits to LGBT state department officers and their families and by formalizing human rights reporting on the status of LGBT persons in the State Department’s annual human rights report on every country in the world.
This Friday, the 2010 human rights report will be published, the first report issued under Clinton’s leadership, reinforcing Kerrey Eleveld’s February cover story “Madam Secretary” for The Advocate, giving credit to Clinton for leading an elevated global discourse on gay rights.
A fact sheet on the Human Rights Council’s action is available here. A further analysis of the UN Human Rights Council’s vote and debate will be available later today.
Tanya L. Domi is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, who teaches about human rights in Eurasia and is a Harriman Institute affiliated faculty member. Prior to teaching at Columbia, Domi worked internationally for more than a decade on issues related to democratic transitional development, including political and media development, human rights, gender issues, sex trafficking, and media freedom.
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