I noted earlier this month that a UN Committee had proposed removing the reference to sexual orientation in the UN’s resolution on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. It was a move led by African and Arabic nations – in other words, the usual suspects when it comes to their record on human rights abuses against lesbians, gay men and transgendered people. As the Swedish representative on the Committee said at the time:
…sexual orientation had often been the motive for extrajudicial killings, and the deletion of the reference would amount to the Committee looking the other way concerning arbitrary executions based on sexual orientation.
Fortunately, there has been a reaction to this draft resolution, led by the US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice. Now the UN has voted to drop the amendment and retain the reference to sexual orientation in the resolution against the unjustified killing of minority groups.
While the original reference still stands for the moment, it’s clear that those who wish to reverse progress will not be giving up in a hurry. Typical of them is Zimbabwe’s ambassador to the UN, Chitsaka Chipaziwa, who attacked the US amendment, saying there was no need to refer explicitly to sexual orientation.
“We will not have it foisted on us,” he said, according to Reuters. “We cannot accept this, especially if it entails accepting such practices as bestiality, paedophilia and those other practices many societies would find abhorrent in their value systems.
Yep, I’m sure that he and others of his ilk are only too happy to heap up strawmen and turn a blind eye to what happens in their countries. As Hilary Clinton is reported to have said:
The U.S. reintroduced the language to send an unequivocal message that “No one should be killed for who they are.”
“Sadly, many people around the world continue to be targeted and killed because of their sexual orientation,” she said. “These heinous crimes must be condemned and investigated wherever they occur.”
And for some of us, the struggle continues, with real and present danger.