The United Nations finally is getting it right. In the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly, a draft resolution has been passed, by a clear majority that will bring protection of life regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Human rights has long been a hot bed of discussion and dissension for the United Nations. Human rights atrocities continue to dot the headlines from around the world. Beatings, imprisonment and in some cases executions have long plagued the world population, let alone the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender population.
In the shadow of the International Transgender Day of Remembrance, this news from the U.N. couldn’t have come at a better time. In the last year we have lost 265 transgender individuals worldwide. In 2009, homosexual acts were still considered illegal in 80 counties, including countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. In 8 countries, as of 2011, a homosexual act could result in the death penalty.
~ Over 4000 individuals charged with homosexual acts have been executed in Iran since 1979. It is no surprise that the lone nay vote for the passing of the U.N. resolution came from Iran.
~ Saudi Arabia punishes gays with fines, imprisonment and evening whipping the individual. More extreme punishments, including execution, are handed out if the individual is involved with the LGBT social movement.
~ Since 1980, Brazil has seen a reported 3,196 murders of gays and lesbians.
The statistics keep going.
Though there were 65 abstentions to the vote, the draft resolution initiated by Sweden, was passed with 108 votes in favor.
In the resolution, “States would be urged to investigate all killings, including those targeted at specific groups of persons, such as racially motivated violence and the killing of persons because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, among other reasons.”
Two amendments to the resolution, one offered by Singapore and another offered by the United Arab Emirates, that would have removed language protecting LGBT individuals, were handily struck down.
As we here in America move forward with legalizing marriage equality regardless of sexual orientation and we push for the passing of The Employment Non-Discrimination Act, we must not forget that Gays, Lesbians, Bisexual and Transgender individuals are being punished and executed around the world for just being themselves.
Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, stated, “the U.N. Human Rights Council has affirmed that all human rights apply to everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The United States will fight to ensure that the remarkable progress the U.N. has made on LGBT issues in the last four years is not rolled back. Today’s vote on gender identity is evidence that we are, in fact, expanding international support and moving forward.”