Lesbian gay bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT) advocates are heralding the recent signing of a pro-gay statement by 85 nations including Dominica at a recent seating of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Gay youth at a recent LGBT parade in Taiwan.
The signing was described in a statement released by various LGBT advocacy groups as “a stunning development for the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”
The statement “express(es) concern at continued evidence in every region of acts of violence and related human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity” and “call(s) on states to take steps to end acts of violence, criminal sanctions and related human rights violations committed against individuals because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
According to the joint media release from the various groups, “ the statement enjoyed the support of the largest group of countries to date on the topic of sexual orientation, gender identity and human rights.”
It builds on a similar statement delivered by Norway at the Human Rights Council in 2006 (on behalf of 54 states) and a joint statement delivered by Argentina at the General Assembly in 2008 (on behalf of 66 states). It is clear that every time these issues are addressed there is measurable increase in state support.”
In a separate press release by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), they called the UN statement “a very significant step forward towards international consensus on LGBTI people’s rights.”
“The strength of this statement makes the defense of discrimination against lesbians, gays, bisexual, trans and intersex people on the basis of a mistaken sense of ‘tradition’ or ‘natural order’ more untenable than ever,” said the group’s co-secretary general, Renato Sabbadini. “Homophobia and transphobia are more and more acknowledged for what they truly are: the last crumbling pillars of a patriarchal order which belong with other dark pages of our past, like slavery and the Inquisition.”
The ILGA particularly singled out the signatures of Dominica, Honduras, Central African Republic, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Seychelles.
Dominica was the only Eastern Caribbean country to sign the declaration.
Several other countries however refused to sign including Nigeria along with other African countries. Nigeria’s representative spoke against the statement, claiming to speak on behalf of the council’s Africa Group.
He said the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” are undefined, talked about God, and said it takes a man and a woman to make a baby. At the end, however, he said that laws that criminalize sexual orientation should be expunged.
The nations that signed the statement are Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Central African Republic, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Micronesia, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Rwanda, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tuvalu, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela, and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.