The United Nations Human Rights Council has adopted an historic resolution that seeks to give gays and lesbians rights equal to those enjoyed by heterosexuals.
The overflow audience burst out into applause before the president of the U.N. Human Rights Council, Sihasak Phuangketkeow, had a chance to announce the results of the vote. A giant video screen showed the final tally was 23 votes in favor of ending discrimination against gays, lesbians, bisexual and transsexual people, 19 against and three abstentions.
The Obama administration has been a staunch supporter of the resolution, and U.S. Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe said the United States is thrilled by the outcome of what she called this simple but historic resolution.
“Today, we have taken an important step forward in our recognition that human rights are indeed universal,” Donohoe said. “We recognize that violence against a person because of who they are is wrong. The right to choose, who we love and to share life with those we love is sacred. Further, we send the unequivocal message that each human being deserves equal protection from violence and discrimination. Today, we make history in the fight for basic fairness and equality.”
Other Sheep e-news had this (including which countries voted for, against and abstained):
In a groundbreaking achievement for upholding the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the United Nations Human Rights Council has passed a resolution on human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity (L.9/Rev.1).
The resolution, presented by South Africa along with Brasil and 39 additional co-sponsors from all regions of the world, was passed by a vote of 23 in favour, 19 against, and 3 abstentions. A list of how States voted is attached. In its presentation to Council, South Africa recalled the UDHR noting that “everyone is entitled to all rights and freedoms without distinction of any kind” and Brasil called on the Council to “open the long closed doors of dialogue.”
Today’s resolution is the first UN resolution ever to bring specific focus to human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and follows a joint statement on these issues delivered at the March session of the council. It affirms the universality of human rights, and notes concern about acts of violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. This commitment of the Human Rights Council sends an important signal of support to human rights defenders working on these issues, and recognizes the legitimacy of their work.
“The South African government has now offered progressive leadership, after years of troubling and inconsistent positions on the issue of sexual orientation and gender identity. Simultaneously, the government has set a standard for themselves in international spaces. We look forward to contributing to and supporting sustained progressive leadership by this government and seeing the end of the violations we face daily.” (Dawn Cavanagh, Coalition of African Lesbians)