Countries vote to accept execution of gays
For the last 10 years sexual orientation has been included in a list of discriminatory grounds for executions – gay rights activists say the vote to remove that listing is “dangerous and disturbing.”
The UN resolution urges countries to protect the right to life of all people, calling on them to investigate killings based on discriminatory grounds. Sexual orientation was previously listed as one of these forms of discrimination, alongside ethnicity, religious belief and linguistic minorities.
Others protected by the resolution were human rights defenders (like journalists, lawyers and demonstrators), street children and members of indigenous communities.
But now sexual orientation has been taken out of the list. The amendment was supported by Benin in Africa on behalf of the African Group in the UN General Assembly. It passed on a narrow vote of 79 for, 70 against , 17 abstentions and 26 absent.
Some of those voting to remove sexual orientation were countries where gays are known to be or thought to be executed or summarily killed including Iran, Nigeria, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Iraq.
The UK, US, Australia, New Zealand and many European countries voted in favour of gays.
Cary Alan Johnson, Executive Director of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, said: “This vote is a dangerous and disturbing development. It essentially removes the important recognition of the particular vulnerability faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people – a recognition that is crucial at a time when 76 countries around the world criminalise homosexuality, five consider it a capital crime and countries like Uganda are considering adding the death penalty to their laws criminalising homosexuality.”