Connect with us

UN Gay Rights Vote Result Of Growing Global Support for LGBT Rights



The United Nations this week, in an historic vote led by the United States and cosponsored by 85 countries, voted to condemn violence against LGBT people around the world — in stark contrast to a vote last November that initially allowed gays to be executed without cause. How did it happen? What are the roots of this new-found tolerance and support? Columbia University human rights professor and Eurasia expert Tanya Domi points to Eleanor Roosevelt and Hillary Clinton as two pieces of a very large puzzle as she explains the backstory.

Despite horrific incidents of violence perpetrated against gay people from New York City to Moscow, from Kampala to Sarajevo and from Dakar to Tehran, Wednesday’s burgeoning, supportive vote by the UN Human Rights Council that condemned violence against persons for their sexual orientation or gender identity and affirmed that international human rights values and principles apply to sexual minorities, was actually set in motion in Vienna in 1993, when the UN convened the World Conference on Human Rights–called by many historians a “rare and defining moment.”

Read: “UN Condemns Violence Against LGBT Persons Ahead Of Ugandan Anti-Gay Bill

The 1993 Vienna conference convened member states for a review and affirmation of human rights laws and practices in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), adopted in 1948 and drafted under Eleanor Roosevelt’s visionary leadership — arguably her greatest legacy. With Rene Casio, a Canadian lawyer, Roosevelt rhetorically and intellectually through the drafting of UDHR sought to achieve the human rights aims originally contained in the UN Charter through the direct participation of non-state actors, whom she described as “a curious grapevine that would penetrate closed societies and could potentially transmit the messages of human rights abuses to the international community.”

At the founding of the UN there were approximately 41 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) registered with the UN and over the years these numbers have grown exponentially into the thousands.

Also over the years, through the Helsinki Process and the opening up of Eastern Europe, the fall of the Berlin Wall, followed by the Anti-Apartheid campaign against the former South African regime and into the 1990s, women globally began insisting that women’s rights are human rights too, eventually articulated by then-First Lady Hillary Clinton at Beijing in 1995.

Thus the human rights moment presented at Vienna almost two decades ago was a culmination of NGO advocates’ efforts over many years of work, representing hundreds of non-governmental organizations from across the world descended upon the World Conference demanding a greater direct role in the UN human rights processes. The NGO activist presence at the Vienna Conference ultimately persuaded 170 Member States to support the transformation of the UN human rights regime by creating the UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights, originally envisioned at the founding of the UN in 1945.

The other main UN instruments that support its human rights mandate include the Economic and Social Council, originally established under the United Nations Charter as the principal organ to coordinate economic, social, and related work of the 14 UN specialized agencies, functional commissions and five regional commissions. The Human Rights Commission, now known as a council, meets three times a year and has a 10 point standard agenda that shapes the work and focus of the council throughout the year.

But the establishment of the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights at Vienna is viewed by scholars and many advocates as the ultimate actualization of  “We the people,” as described under the UN Charter.  The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, articulated in 1993, lays out the High Commissioner’s mandate and roadmap to advance human rights policy and work at the UN. (Here is a detailed action guide on processes of the Human Rights Council.)

This past Wednesday, during the discussion on follow-up and implementation of the Vienna Declaration of the agenda, 85 countries called for an end to anti-LGBT violence and were joined in support by 118 NGOs who signed a Joint Statement in celebration of this “stunning” vote, thus formally affirming human rights for LGBT people in the Human Rights Council by growing numbers of supportive States.

It is my belief that U.S. foreign policy is leading the way forward  to secure human rights for LGBT peoples globally, by the Obama Administration with Secretary Clinton articulating it most forcefully, stating “gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights,” echoing her transformative words about women rights at Beijing 16 years ago.

Among the U.S. based NGOs that have been active on LGBT human rights issues and signed onto the joint statement of support present in Geneva this week included the Council for Global Equality, The Center for Women’s Global Leadership, based at Rutgers University, Human Rights First (formerly known as the Lawyer’s Committee,) Human Rights Watch, The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, Queer African Youth Network , and The American Jewish World Service (headed by Ruth Messinger, former NYC Councilwoman and candidate for Mayor.)

Read: “UN Vote Allowing Gays To Be Executed Result Of Political, Religious Fundamentalism

The Uganda LGBT community was represented by more than 10 NGOS and  among activists present included the highly respected Ugandan lesbian activist Kasha Jacqueline. Also attending and signing onto the Joint Statement of Support was the European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, ARC International (Canada and Switzerland) the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (Canada, Mexico and South Africa) and The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (New Delhi and London.)

Much work remains to be done  to formally establish human rights protocols that provide protections to persons who are sexual minorities, as more than 70 UN Member States continue to prosecute people because of their sexual orientation. Naysayers use “cultural relativist” arguments against the inclusion of LGBT recognized rights, such as the African Union and other con arguments offered by Pakistan, for example, asserting that the Human Rights Council was setting about to create a new set of human rights that has no legal foundation in any existing human rights instruments. Nonetheless, Wednesday’s vote at the UN Human Rights Council is a watershed moment marking the universality that human rights are LGBT rights and strongly indicates a new impetus in the UN’s continual advance toward realizing human rights for all people, including those who happen to be gay.

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.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.

NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.


‘All-Out War’: Trump’s Attorney Tells Kimberly Guilfoyle Ex-President Will Be ‘Loud and Proud’ When Showing Up for Indictment



Donald Trump’s attorney for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s hush money case against the ex-president was interviewed by Kimberly Guilfoyle for her new show on Monday. Guilfoyle is engaged to Donald Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump, Jr.

Attorney Joe Tacopina told Guilfoyle, the ex-Fox News host, that the ex-president will happily show up in Manhattan if and when DA Alvin Bragg indicts him.

Guilfoyle asked Tacopina if Trump is indicted would he want them to “do it virtually,” presumably so Trump could participate from Mar-a-Lago.

Frowning, Tacopina said the district attorney and prosecutors “do what they want.. At this point, this is an all-out war.”

“Donald Trump is the toughest human being I’ve ever met,” Tacopina continued.

“Donald Trump is not going to ask for anything from them. If they want him at 100 Centre Street,” the address of the New York County Criminal Court and NYPD Manhattan Central Booking, Tacopina told Guilfoyle, “he’ll be there loud and proud, and there’s nobody that’s gonna make him cower.”

READ MORE: Republicans Are ‘Obstructing Justice’ and ‘Becoming Accessories’ to Trump’s ‘Crimes’: Former Prosecutor

Guilfoyle does not appear to disclose her relationship to either Trump in her video, which is produced to appear as an actual news show, during which she shares legal theory with viewers.

Tacopina tells Guilfoyle Trump is the victim, and the only crime was extortion. The grand jury likely will have a difference of opinion.

He also falsely calls The Wall Street Journal, a sister entity to Fox News and The New York Post – all owned by Rupert Murdoch – a “far-left” publication.

Watch a short clip below or at this link.

Continue Reading


Republicans Are ‘Obstructing Justice’ and ‘Becoming Accessories’ to Trump’s ‘Crimes’: Former Prosecutor



In the wake of Donald Trump‘s numerous recent social media rants attacking various prosecutors investigating his possibly unlawful acts, and his claim over the weekend that he will be indicted on Tuesday, many House and Senate Republicans have been rushing to his defense, wrongly claiming he is the victim of a political prosecution.

At least two former federal prosecutors are blasting them, with one saying it is “illegal” to interfere with an ongoing criminal investigation, and another warning Republicans are engaging in obstruction of justice and are becoming “accessories after the fact.”

On Saturday, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy slammed Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who is expected this week to indict the former president.

“Here we go again — an outrageous abuse of power by a radical DA who lets violent criminals walk as he pursues political vengeance against President Trump,” McCarthy wrongly told Americans. “I’m directing relevant committees to immediately investigate if federal funds are being used to subvert our democracy by interfering in elections with politically motivated prosecutions.”

READ MORE: Trump Files Sweeping Legal Motion to Try to Block Georgia Grand Jury Findings and District Attorney Fani Willis

McCarthy’s tweet was highly criticized, including by retired Democratic U.S. Congressman John Yarmouth of Kentucky.

“I may end being not fully accurate, but Kevin McCarthy may be implicitly endorsing falsifying business records, tax fraud, campaign finance crime, and more, including obstruction of justice, when undermining the justice system is exactly what his tweet does,” tweeted Yarmouth.

McCarthy didn’t stop there.

“Alvin Bragg is abusing his office to target President Trump while he’s reduced a majority of felonies, including violent crimes, to misdemeanors. He has different rules for political opponents,” McCarthy alleged on Sunday. “Republicans stopped the radical DC crime law, and we will investigate any use of federal funds that are used to facilitate the perversion of justice by Soros-backed DA’s across the country.”

Some Republicans injected what many see as the GOP’s increasing embrace of antisemitism into their attacks against Bragg.

U.S. Senator J.D. Vance (R-OH) on Sunday tweeted: “Alvin Bragg is bought by George Soros. He allows violent criminals to walk the streets of New York City, but will prosecute the likely Republican nominee (and former president) on a baseless misdemeanor charge. These people are trying to turn America into a third-world country.”

Elise Stefanik (R-NY), the Chair of the House Republican Conference and an ultra-MAGA extremist, also used the Soros reference, which experts have said can be antisemitic: “The Soros-backed woke prosecutor Alvin Bragg must testify under oath before Congress.”

Attorney and writer David Lurie, pointing to both McCarthy’s and Vance’s tweets, wrote: “GOP politicians like McCarthy, Trump and JD Vance now routinely include antisemitic conspiracism in their political rhetoric.” He linked to this article he wrote at Public Notice.

“JD Vance is advancing a claim that a Jew ‘bought’ a respected prosecutor, who just happens to be Black,” Lurie added. “Double bigotry in just one tweet.”

U.S. Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) also engaged in the antisemitic “Soros-backed” reference.

READ MORE: ‘RICO’: Trump Could Be Facing Racketeering and Conspiracy Charges Used to Prosecute Organized Crime

Speaker McCarthy “is right,” Scott tweeted, “and I fully support his call for an investigation. No federal dollars should be used to prop up this radical, Soros-backed activist attorney or his gross political attacks.”

U.S. Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) on Sunday said District Attorney Bragg “should focus on the violent criminals terrorizing New York instead of pursuing politically motivated charges against” Donald Trump.

On Monday, a former federal prosecutor for 30 years, Glenn Kirschner, issued a warning for Republicans.

“In a very real sense, congressional Republicans who use their power & their office to thwart criminal prosecutions of Donald Trump are becoming accessories after the fact to Trump’s crimes. They are obstructing justice. And we can expect [it] to continue if it goes unaddressed.”

Kirschner was responding to this tweet from noted Harvard professor of law (retired) Laurence Tribe: “House Republicans are gathered at a luxury resort near Disney World where House Judiciary Chair JIM JORDAN (R-Ohio) & senior GOP leaders are preparing to demand testimony from members of Manhattan DA’s Office amid reports of an imminent Trump indictment.”

READ MORE: ‘This Man Is a Criminal’: George Conway Busts GOP’s ‘Completely Ridiculous’ Trump Defense

Monday afternoon Jordan and his colleagues did just that, sending a letter to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, demanding he hand over communications and testify before Congress to explain his prosecution of Trump.

“Was the Manhattan DA’s office in communication with DOJ about their investigation of President Trump?” Jordan tweeted. “Was the Manhattan DA’s office using federal funds to investigate President Trump? Alvin Bragg owes our committee answers.”

In response, U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA), an attorney and former military prosecutor with the U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate General’s Corps, called Jordan’s actions “illegal.”

“Dear @Jim_Jordan,” Lieu tweeted. “Local prosecutors, including DA Bragg, owe you nothing. In fact, it is illegal for you and @JudiciaryGOP to interfere in an ongoing criminal investigation, or a criminal trial (if there is one).”


Continue Reading


Jim Jordan Waging ‘Purely Political Attack’: Demands Bragg Testify Before Congress Over Expected Trump Indictment



In an unprecedented move House Republican Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan is demanding Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg testify before Congress over his expected indictment of Donald Trump. Bragg, officially the New York County District Attorney, is an elected official whose office was created under the New York State Constitution and does not answer to Congress.

Professor of law and former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance quickly blasted Jordan’s move, saying: “what jurisdiction does Congress have over a DA elected by Manhattanites? Sure, Jordan will talk about fed’l funding, but this is a purely political attack on local gov’t.”

Earlier Monday, reacting to Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s remarks, Vance said: “It’s not up to House Republicans to review Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg’s conduct. It’s up to Manhattan voters. If Trump is indicted, a jury will decide whether there’s sufficient evidence to convict. The GOP continues to undercut our democratic institutions to serve Trump.”

Jordan’s letter, he writes to Bragg: “In light of the serious consequences of your actions, we expect that you will testify about what plainly appears to be a politically motivated prosecutorial decision,” according to a Fox Corp. article. The website also says it was signed by two other Republicans: House Oversight Committee Chair Jim Comer and House Committee on Administration Chair Brian Steil. None have any oversight authority on the Office of the Manhattan District Attorney.

READ MORE: Trump Files Sweeping Legal Motion to Try to Block Georgia Grand Jury Findings and District Attorney Fani Willis

“Jordan warned Bragg that if news reports of a possible Trump indictment are accurate, Bragg’s actions ‘will erode confidence in the evenhanded application of justice and unalterably interfere in the court of the 2024 presidential election,'” Fox adds.

“The legal theory underlying your reported prosecution appears to be tenuous and untested,” Jordan wrote. He also attacked former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, who has testified extensively in the case before the grand jury.

Just before leaving office Trump awarded Jordan the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

According to former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson who testified publicly and privately before the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, Jordan discussed pardons with the White House for Republican Members of Congress, although she says he did not ask for one himself. Jordan also defied a subpoena from the January 6 Select Committee.

In a Monday morning interview with Fox Corp.’s Harris Faulkner, Jordan falsely describes Trump’s hush money payment to adult film actress and director Stormy Daniels as “some alleged bookkeeping error.” The expected charges have neither been voted on by the grand jury nor announced.

“Charges in NY are expected to involve false business records created to conceal Trump’s payment of hush money to Stormy Daniels but there are possible charges involving manipulating property values for tax, loan & insurance advantages,” Vance also  said Monday.

READ MORE: ‘RICO’: Trump Could Be Facing Racketeering and Conspiracy Charges Used to Prosecute Organized Crime

Watch video of Jordan discussing the letter and see the letter itself below or at this link:



Continue Reading


Copyright © 2020 AlterNet Media.