Saturday, June 18, 2011

Queer rights at the U.N. - The needle moves

Yesterday the U.N. Human Rights Council voted in favor of a declaration, put forward by South Africa, that expressed "grave concern at acts of violence and discrimination, in all regions of the world, committed against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity."

It's a very mild statement, and it only just passed, 23 to 19.* But it's an historic step: the very first UN resolution according quiltbag** people human rights. As U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said, "This represents a historic moment to highlight the human rights abuses and violations that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people face around the world based solely on who they are and whom they love."

Now there's a formal process for the UN to record and track abuses against quiltbag citizens--violence, anti-queer laws, etc. The needle moves. Fingers crossed for next week's NY Senate vote on same-sex marriage. If you live in New York, please call your senator. Every vote counts.

*Here's how the various countries stacked up:

States supporting the resolution: Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, France, Guatemala, Hungary, Japan, Mauritius, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, Thailand, UK, USA, Uruguay

States against the resolution: Angola, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Djibouti, Gabon, Ghana, Jordan, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Moldova, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Uganda.

Abstentions: Burkina Faso, China, Zambia

Absent: Kyrgyzstan, Libya (suspended)

Co-Sponsors of the resolution: Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Timor-Leste, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America, and Uruguay.
(From International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission)

** I get tired of LGBTQIA, so I just add a 'u' (undecided? unworried?) and play anagramme
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