Global News Journal

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UN victory for gay rights supporters


Suporters of rights for gays and lesbians worldwide secured a major victory at the United Nations this week. The 192-nation U.N. General Assembly voted to restore a reference to killings due to sexual orientation that had been deleted from a resolution condemning unjustified slayings. The shift came after the United States submitted an amendment to restore the reference, which the General Assembly’s human rights committee removed last month from a resolution on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions that is adopted every two years.

The U.S. amendment that restored the reference to sexual orientation was adopted with 93 votes in favor, 55 against and 27 abstentions. The amended resolution was then approved with 122 yes votes, one against and 62 abstentions. (Saudi Arabia cast the sole vote against the resolution, and the United States was among those who abstained.)

The committee’s deletion of the reference last month — at the proposal of African and Arab nations — had outraged Western countries and human rights activists. Similar resolutions adopted in previous years have explicitly mentioned killings due to sexual preference, along with slayings for racial, national, ethnic, religious or linguistic reasons and killings of refugees, indigenous people and other groups.

Cary Alan Johnson, executive director of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), was pleased with the outcome. “The outpouring of support from the international community sent the strong message to our representatives at the U.N. that it is unacceptable to make invisible the deadly violence LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people face because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation.”