United Nations restores sexual orientation clause to extrajudicial killings resolution
21 December 2010
Updated | The reference to sexual orientation in a resolution on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions has been restored. The General Assembly voted 93 in favour of the US proposal, with 55 countries voting against and 27 abstaining, with some 16 delegations taking the floor to explain their position.
As previously reported, for the first time since 1999 the resolution would not have expressly condemned such killings on the grounds of sexual orientation following an amendment by the African Group and the Organization of the Islamic Conference.
The Washington Post reports that the US mission to the UN are currently attempting to table an amendment to the resolution to restore the original wording. Although the original vote was close at 79/70 in favour, the US amendment may prove challenging, not least because the US traditionally abstains from this resolution. US Ambassador Susan E. Rice stated:
I was incensed by the recent vote in the General Assembly’s Third Committee, which eliminated any mention of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals from a resolution condemning extrajudicial killing of vulnerable people around the world. We fought hard for that reference when it came to a Committee vote, and we lost. But we’re not done yet. The resolution now goes to the full General Assembly. For countries that voted in the Committee to keep the reference to sexual orientation, we thank you. For countries that haven’t yet done so, we urge you to join us. And for countries that have supported this reference in the past but changed course this year, we urge you to stand again with us and with all vulnerable people around the world at risk of violence. We are going to fight to restore the reference to sexual orientation. We’re going to stand firm on this basic principle. And we intend to win.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon recently renewed his commitment to ending violence and criminal sanctions based on sexual orientation:
As men and women of conscience, we reject discrimination in general, and in particular discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. When individuals are attacked, abused or imprisoned because of their sexual orientation, we must speak out. We cannot stand by. We cannot be silent. This is all the more true in cases of violence. These are not merely assaults on individuals. They are attacks on all of us.