as the United Nations voted to remove sexual orientation from a resolution condemning extrajudicial killing. Sure, the global community was willing to condemn murder on the basis of age, religion, or ethnicity, but when it came to the subject of sexual orientation, a gaggle of countries demurred. They wanted the right to kill people on the basis of sexual orientation, and darn it, they weren't going to let the international community stand in their way.
Sure enough, they organized, and a coalition of African nations (led by Benin) took charge. They proposed a measure that would strike sexual orientation from this extrajudicial killing resolution, and then they got 79 countries to support their work. As a result, the United Nations gave its blessing to the execution of LGBT people around the globe.
What was even more shocking was the fact that several countries deemed to be LGBT-friendly (or at least heading in that direction) voted in favor of killing gays. Countries like South Africa and Cuba, where LGBT people have made great strides in recent years, or countries like Guyana, Belize, and the Bahamas, which while not entirely LGBT hospitable, aren't seen as the type of places that support the murder of LGBT people.
Thankfully, this issue isn't finished yet, and in large part, we have the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, to thank for it.
On Human Rights Day (marked December 10), Rice announced that the U.S. would try to fix this crooked vote, and get the UN back on track to do what it's supposed to do: protect the human rights of all, regardless of sexual orientation.
“Here at the United Nations, like many of you, I was incensed by the recent vote in the General Assembly’s Third Committee, which eliminated any mention of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals from a resolution condemning extrajudicial killing of vulnerable people around the world,” said Rice. “We’re going to fight to restore the reference to sexual orientation. We’re going to stand firm on this basic principle, and we intend to win."
And now it looks like the UN will vote once again on this resolution, on Monday, December 20.
Several organizations are stepping up lobbying efforts to make sure that, this time, the resolution passes with a reference to sexual orientation in it. Take ARC-International, which sent out a backgrounder for people to use when calling their foreign mission asking them to keep sexual orientation in the resolution. They note that for 10 years sexual orientation has been included in this resolution, and it's never caused a controversy.
And the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) added that this vote is extremely important, because this resolution is the only official UN resolution to include the words sexual orientation.
"On Monday, we have an opportunity to turn this around. States will have the chance to restore the reference to sexual orientation – and hopefully extend it to also include gender identity – when the resolution is voted on by the full UN General Assembly," said IGLHRC.
So here's what to do. A number of foreign nations are believed to be persuadable on this issue, and could make all the difference in whether sexual orientation flies in this resolution. These countries? Well, they include South Africa and Cuba, two states who should have known better the last time. But also the Bahamas, Belize, Bolivia, Colombia, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname. And you can send all of these countries a message now, urging them to get with the program, and get out of the business of supporting the execution of people, solely because they're gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.
petition text -
On December 20, the United Nations will vote on a resolution condemning extrajudicial killing. For the past 10 years, this resolution has included a condemnation of killing based on sexual orientation. I urge you to keep sexual orientation in this important resolution.
Efforts are being made by a coalition of countries to strip sexual orientation from the language of this resolution. But the message that would send to the world community is that the United Nations -- the body charged with upholding human rights around the globe -- believes it's appropriate for countries to execute gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. That is a message we cannot afford to send the world.
Please stand up and support sexual orientation in this resolution.
Thank you for your time.
[Your name here]