News / USA

US Hails 'Landmark' UN Resolution on Gay Rights

TEXT SIZE - +

The United States is joining human rights groups in hailing passage of a resolution by the U.N. Human Rights Council rejecting abuses against people because of their sexual orientation. The resolution, presented by South Africa, won narrow approval by the council in Geneva.

The Obama administration has made defense of gay rights a major agenda issue, and State Department officials say the resolution is a major step toward making the defense of such rights an international norm.

The U.N. Human Rights Council approved, by a vote of 23 to 19 with three abstentions, a South African text expressing grave concern about abuses suffered by people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The non-binding resolution commissioned a global report on discrimination against homosexuals and trans-gender persons.

Though the language was weaker than some delegates and advocacy groups had sought, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in written statement, welcomed it as a historic moment” to highlight the abuses that lesbian, gay and transgender - or LGBT - persons face around the world.

In a conference call from Geneva, the U.S. ambassador to the Human Rights Council, Eileen Donahoe, said the resolution transformed what had been an unspoken issue into a legitimate, mainstream human rights subject.

“It is now on the map as a legitimate topic for those concerned about human rights to be raising and reaffirming internationally. And we think this is game-changer in terms of changing the culture, at least at the Human Rights Council on the topic of protection for LGBT people. Prior to today, it was almost a taboo topic,” Donahoe said.

Supporters of the resolution in addition to the United States and South Africa, included European Union and Latin American countries.

Among those voting against were Russia and several Islamic and African states including Nigeria, which said the measure was contrary to the values of most Africans. Pakistan said the measure had nothing to do with fundamental rights.

According to Amnesty International, consensual same-sex relations are illegal in more than 70 countries. The United States recently publicly criticized draft legislation in Uganda, later softened, that would have made some homosexual acts a capital offense.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs Suzanne Nossel told reporters Friday’s U.N. action will not mean the early lifting of such laws, but will affect international attitudes.

“This does raise the political price of repression and discrimination and violence. It puts a spotlight under it. It sends a message that the international community rejects it, that governments that condone  and pursue those policies are outliers, that they’re  are at odds with an international norm. It also puts in place reporting so that activists and victims of abuses have a place to turn,” he said.

The monitoring group Human Rights Watch called the Geneva resolution a ground-breaking achievement, and a bold step into territory previously considered off-limits.

The gay rights advocacy group ARC International said the measure breaks a silence that prevailed for far too long, and is an entry point for further U.N. debate.

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid