UN Adopts First Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Human Rights Resolution

June 19 | Posted by Heather | Featured, Headlines, Historical, Politics, World

The United Nations Human Rights Council made a historic first on Friday by making a resolution that supports human rights principles, practices and protections with regards to sexual orientation and gender identity.

The formal resolution also puts into motion the first UN official report on the state of LGBT human rights. The report is to be the responsibility of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay, and is to be completed by the end of this year.

23 states supported the resolution while 19 opposed it.

The following countries Co-Sponsored 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.

The following countries voted for the resolution: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, France, Guatemala, Hungary, Japan, Mauritius, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States and Uruguay.

The following countries voted against the resolution: Angola, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Djibouti, Gabon, Ghana, Jordan, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, the Republic of Moldova, the Russian Federation Saudi Arabia, Senegal and Uganda.

Three countries abstained. They were Burkino Faso, China and Zambia.

Libya was not permitted to vote as it has been suspended.

Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State for the US, called it 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.” The United States was an official co-sponsor of the historical resolution.

It should however be noted that the US does not have any federal laws to protect its own people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Even at the state level some US citizens go without any formal protections based on their sexual orientation, and almost three out of four US states do not have any gender identity protections.

The US was also noticeably absent from the list of countries which supported a statement on sexual orientation and gender identity made in December of 2008.

A transcript of the UN Human Rights Council proceedings can be found here. For more information about international human rights with regards to sexual orientation and gender identity please read the Yogyakarta Principles.