General Assembly votes to drop Sexual Orientation from "Right to Life" resolution

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bagkitty bagkitty's picture
General Assembly votes to drop Sexual Orientation from "Right to Life" resolution

There are a number of news stories covering this in the LGBT press, but, apart from a brief Reuters piece on its African service, I can find no coverage in the MSM.

Xtra's coverage

The Advocate's coverage

PinkNews' coverage

 

Snert Snert's picture

So if I've got this correct, it's not that they didn't vote sexual orientation IN... it was already in and they took the time and trouble to vote it OUT?

Was it getting in the way of them persecuting queers?  That's really the only conclusion I can come to.  The countries who voted to remove sexual orientation clearly have plans.

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Yes Snert, you have it correct, the vote was to remove sexual orientation from the current list. Particularly troubling was the vote of South Africa in favour of the amendment (that is, they voted to remove the reference). The Xtra article lists those voting both for and against the amendment.

Snert Snert's picture

Quote:
 The Xtra article lists those voting both for and against the amendment.

I thought those were lists of "Countries in Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia" and "Countries in Europe, the Americas and the South Pacific".

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Found a blog (out of Trinidad) that has the complete vote breakdown, including the abstentions and absent:

globewriter.com

Snert Snert's picture

Sometimes it's hard to understand why countries won't make a small effort toward progress, but it's absolutely impossible to understand where they suddenly find the will to roll progress back.

I'm not the least bit surprised to see countries like Iran or Jamaica or Zimbabwe choosing to stop excluding homosexuals from extrajudicial executions.  But I wonder if any Cuba supporters could explain what Cuba stands to gain by not being prevented from executing queers?  I thought they were supposed to have been making progress with human rights?

Snert Snert's picture

Thing is, when you look at who voted how, there's a pretty clear contingent of rampantly homophobic countries (eg: Jamaica, Iran, SA) who, evidently, thought this all to be meaningful enough to vote for.  And Cuba chose to side with them.

You're probably right that, on the ground, it kind of doesn't matter, if only because so much of what the UN does doesn't matter.  But it's still hard to fathom why, in what may be a symbolic vote, Cuba chose to symbolically stand shoulder to shoulder with the wrong side.

Unionist

M. Spector wrote:

But I will comment on the effect of the amendment upon the resolution as a whole, which is to say, none at all.

That was my initial non-expert opinion as well - thanks for making it explicit.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Cuba has all sorts of voting alliances with African and Arab countries in the UN. It leads to things like voting in favour of a UN Human Rights Council (HRC) resolution praising the government of Sri Lanka for "the promotion and protection of human rights", as they did last year.

They may be making deals in order to secure votes on matters that are favourable to themselves - like the annual resolution to condemn the US economic embargo.

One thing is for sure: the Cubans have no intention of carrying out extrajudicial killings of gays and lesbians, or anyone else.

Snert Snert's picture

Okay, that makes some sense.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

I won't comment on the motivations for the amendment, because I don't know what they are. I saw a suggestion somewhere that there is no agreed international definition of what "sexual orientation" means, but I don't even know if that's true. And it's arguable that replacing "any discriminatory reason, including sexual orientation" with "discriminatory reasons on any basis" actually makes the declaration more inclusive, not less.

But I will comment on the effect of the amendment upon the resolution as a whole, which is to say, none at all.

Rather than relying on the bourgeois, agenda-driven news media to explain things for me, I decided to take a look at the actual resolution and the actual amendment in question. And when I did, it was clear that the resolution as amended does not in any way countenance the "extra-judicial, summary, or arbitrary execution" (which is what the subject of the resolution was) of GLBTQ+++ people or anyone else. In fact, if the object of Morocco and Mali in moving the amendment was to exempt this class of persons from the UN's prohibition on extra-judicial, summary, or arbitrary executions, then they failed miserably.

The amended resolution is still plenty broad enough to prohibit such executions of any persons on account of their sexual orientation. This is not, as the bourgeois media tried to portray it, the removal of sexual orientation from a definitive list of protected categories, such as you would find in the anti-discrimination provisions of most human rights codes. In the case of the latter, if you're not specifically listed, then you're not protected. But in the case of the UN resolution, that is not the effect of the amendment at all. You really should read the whole thing.

[url=http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/LTD/N10/635/41/PDF/N1063541.pdf?O... is the text of the Resolution[/url]* as it stood before the amendment to paragraph 6(b).

[url=http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/LTD/N10/635/55/PDF/N1063555.pdf?O... is the text of the amendment[/url]* to paragraph 6(b).

While we're all being shocked and appalled, we might also wonder why the United States abstained on passing the amended resolution. The vote on the amendment was widely reported in the MSM, but very few of them reported that the amended resolution was passed on a vote of [url=http://www.un.org/en/ga/third/65/docs/voting_sheets/L.29Rev.1.pdf]165–0, with 10 abstentions[/url], including the United States, Zimbabwe, Turkey, Sudan, Sri Lanka - Israel, of course - Libya, Tuvalu, and other beacons of human rights and liberty. Nah, no news story there!

ETA: * Sorry, folks, the UN won't let me link directly to these documents (I'm not sure what they are afraid of). To see them you will have to go to this link http://tinyurl.com/23ds4sl which is a search engine. Click on the item A/C.3/65/L.29/Rev.1 [eng] to see the Resolution, and the item A/C.3/65/L.65 [eng] to see the amendment.

And now, having written the ETA, suddenly my original links are working for me again! Strange are the ways of the UN and the WWW.

-=+=-

M. Spector wrote:

Cuba has all sorts of voting alliances with African and Arab countries in the UN. It leads to things like voting in favour of a UN Human Rights Council (HRC) resolution praising the government of Sri Lanka for "the promotion and protection of human rights", as they did last year.

They may be making deals in order to secure votes on matters that are favourable to themselves - like the annual resolution to condemn the US economic embargo.

One thing is for sure: the Cubans have no intention of carrying out extrajudicial killings of gays and lesbians, or anyone else.

Recently, in an official interview, Castro was asked about Cuba's persecution of gays in the 1970's.  Castro said he was too busy with the revolution, and didn't know it was going on.

Obviously a crock, but such face-saving excuses are made when non-democratic states change their policies.  Internally, I believe Castro's daughter, or other female relative, is in charge of improving conditions for queers in Cuba.

So Cuba's vote here is pure external politics, I assume to maintain its influence in Africa and the Caribbean.  It does, however, render Castro's speeches about international evils the height of hypocrisy.

 

M. Spector M. Spector's picture
Ken Burch

-=+=- wrote:

M. Spector wrote:

Cuba has all sorts of voting alliances with African and Arab countries in the UN. It leads to things like voting in favour of a UN Human Rights Council (HRC) resolution praising the government of Sri Lanka for "the promotion and protection of human rights", as they did last year.

They may be making deals in order to secure votes on matters that are favourable to themselves - like the annual resolution to condemn the US economic embargo.

One thing is for sure: the Cubans have no intention of carrying out extrajudicial killings of gays and lesbians, or anyone else.

Recently, in an official interview, Castro was asked about Cuba's persecution of gays in the 1970's.  Castro said he was too busy with the revolution, and didn't know it was going on.

Obviously a crock, but such face-saving excuses are made when non-democratic states change their policies.  Internally, I believe Castro's daughter, or other female relative, is in charge of improving conditions for queers in Cuba.

So Cuba's vote here is pure external politics, I assume to maintain its influence in Africa and the Caribbean.  It does, however, render Castro's speeches about international evils the height of hypocrisy.

 

It's his niece, Raul's daughter, Mariela Castro Espin, who has taken on that task.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mariela_Castro

 

 

Snert Snert's picture

Quote:
You don't even support ssm, as far as I know.

I completely do. Now you know.

Ken Burch

Snert wrote:

So if I've got this correct, it's not that they didn't vote sexual orientation IN... it was already in and they took the time and trouble to vote it OUT?

Was it getting in the way of them persecuting queers?  That's really the only conclusion I can come to.  The countries who voted to remove sexual orientation clearly have plans.

Go away.  Neither you nor anyone else on the right gives a damn about "queers".  You're only mentioning this because it's about things happening outside of the U.S. in countries you'd like to see invaded.

I agree that this was a bad vote in terms of symbolism(although as others have pointed out, it has no real effect), but this change is only getting play in the MSM because it's a chance for Muslim- and Africa-bashing(and bashing of countries made up largely of people of African descent).  It's about smug "European"(actually, right-wing North American)pundits going after countries where the former colonial population forgot its place.

Never mind that gays were treated with equal intolerance in those places when they were part of the British and French empires.

 

 

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Ken Burch wrote:

[...]

I agree that this was a bad vote in terms of symbolism(although as others have pointed out, it has no real effect), but this change is only getting play in the MSM because it's a chance for Muslim- and Africa-bashing.  Never mind that gays were treated with equal intolerance in those places when they were part of the British and French empires.

Again, an assertion that this is getting coverage in the MSM (and by inference, considerable coverage). Again, I would like to challenge a poster to document that it is getting such coverage. Xtra, Pink News, the gay blogsphere, etc. are NOT the MSM.

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Ken Burch wrote:

[...]

Remember, "The West" has only become gay-friendly(and barely gay-friendly at that) in the last twenty years or so, and only because of the work of people who supported the anti-colonial and antiracist movements.  We've little right to claim superiority on this.

Ah fuck it, might as well get nasty.

Heaven forbid that Kurt Hiller was right and our liberation has anything to do with our own efforts. Ken, would you care to come up with a comprehensive list of who we should be sending thank-you notes to?

Or is this all some personal vendetta you have with Snert that you think justifies such an over-the-top statement?

Ken Burch

Obiviously, I intended to include the LGBT community as the vanguard of that change, and I'll rephrase that post on that pont..  What I was saying was that no one at all on the right (and certainly few if any self-styled "libertarians")ever gave a damn about LGBT rights.  They're incapable of it.

My point is, if the right-wing Canadian or UK governments had backed this change, I doubt Snert would care.

Ken Burch

Snert wrote:

Quote:
You don't even support ssm, as far as I know.

I completely do. Now you know.

Wouldn't have guessed that.  Well, I've edited the original post to remove that point.  Still, you've clearly jumped into this mainly because it's a chance for Third World-bashing. 

Remember, "The West" has only become gay-friendly(and barely gay-friendly at that) in the last twenty years or so, and only because of the heroic work of the LGBT community itself, supported solely by people who supported the anti-colonial and antiracist movements.  We've little right to claim superiority on this and no right-of-centre person has any right to claim to be gay-friendly.

kropotkin1951

Quote:

In favor of the amendment to remove sexual orientation from the resolution on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions (79):

Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh,Belize, Benin, Botswana, Brunei Dar-Sala, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, China, Comoros, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana,Guyana, Haiti, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uzbekistan, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe

As usual Snert you only vilify a country the evil empire hates.  What about its friends and allies why only Cuba? How about Afghanistan where our soldiers are fighting for "human rights"?

If you want to talk about the state murder of homosexuals then start with Afghanistan, they actually do it.  But no you need to slur America's enemies so you slander Cuba with that brush instead of Egypt or Saudi Arabia etc etc

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Well (at more than the risk of being accused of shadow moderating... because it is my intention to be actively shadow monitoring) go back and look at the latest exchange, then look at the little tag line that is attached to the forum description itself "Discuss all issues LGBTQ from an LGBTQ-positive perspective" and then come back and enlighten me how your posts, snerts (or the post that, after reading, it took me a week to cool down enough to respond to in anything approaching a civil manner) come even close to expressing that mandate.

Or stay away, that works for me too.

[ETA... and going back in after a post has been made and editing by means of adding (without indicating that you have in fact done so [(that cute little ETA tag, like I am adding here)] the line ", and only because of the heroic work of the LGBT community itself," is better described as covering your ass than addressing the problem. - As an aside, when did our enlightened self-interest become heroic? Talk about hackneyed phrasing...]

Ken Burch

Good point.

And, for the record, nothing in any of my posts was an attack on the LGBTQ community.  I corrected the one post that inadvertently created the impression that I was denying credit to that community for its gains in the West, and apologize for the poor wording.

My hostility was solely about those using this issue for agendas unrelated to the LGBTQ issue.

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

I think I have cooled down enough over the past several days to write a response to post #6 in this thread that is at least moderately civil... well, here is hoping I don't cross the line into "nasty".

I will be quoting quite extensively from that post itself, and also from an analysis of the implications under International Law of this amendment by the group UK Human Rights Blog (UKHRB) - the full analysis can be accessed here.

But let's turn our attention to post #6, shall we:

M. Spector wrote:

I won't comment on the motivations for the amendment, because I don't know what they are. I saw a suggestion somewhere that there is no agreed international definition of what "sexual orientation" means, but I don't even know if that's true. And it's arguable that replacing "any discriminatory reason, including sexual orientation" with "discriminatory reasons on any basis" actually makes the declaration more inclusive, not less.

I think any claim to not know, or be confused about, the motivations behind the amendment can only be based on a wilful blindness. One need look no further than the statements made by those advancing the amendment to have a pretty clear insight as to their motivations:

Representative from Benin on behalf of the African Group wrote:

"sexual orientation had no legal foundation in any international human rights instruments and there was no legal justification to highlight it."

and

Representative from Morocco on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference wrote:

"the Group was seriously concerned by controversial and undefined notions that had no foundation in international human rights instruments. Intolerance and discrimination existed in cases of colour, race, gender and religion, to mention only a few ... An attempt to create new rights was a matter of concern for the Group."

It is quite clear that the proponents of the amendment were motivated by a desire to see that any reference to sexual orientation be removed in order that no rights "as a class" be extended to the LGBT communities. If the existence of such a class is itself not recognized in law, then actions against such a class are essentially "invisible" and can't be characterized as discriminatory, because the law (or declaration) no longer has the necessary reference point to describe those who are actually being discriminated against. The proponents of the amendment are trying to shield themselves from international criticism for engaging in the very type of behaviour that the resolution itself is trying to condemn.

So long as there is no recognition that the members of the LGBT communites are part of a "class", the argument can be made (and has been made, and continues to be made) that actions taken against individuals from these communites are not discriminatory per se, but rather the consequences of criminal behaviour on the part of these individuals. (Amensty International used to tie itself into knots over this question, refusing to declare imprisoned gays or lesbian individuals "prisoners of conscience" even in those circumstances where action was taken against these individuals because of advocacy of equal rights for their community, because the states imprisoning them could point to the fig leaf of the charges under which "individual" gay or lesbians prisoners were being jailed.)

Any argument that the generalized "discriminatory reasons on any basis" is somehow "more inclusive" founders on the same rock that we see in discussions about human rights in the United States (where reactionary forces are always saying "no special rights are required, this is all covered by the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment") - it founders because it runs into the "strict constructionists" who continually assert that what is not specifically spelled out is necessarily excluded. To suggest that international law does not suffer from the same contraint goes beyond being naive, it actively plays into the hands of those who seek to maintain the discriminatory status quo. Refusal to acknowledge the existence of a suspect class (which is essentialy what the amendment does) is the major roadblock in addressing the systemic discrimination individuals who are members of this class experience.

You need only look at the domestic example of the Vriend v. Alberta challenge to see how the logic of the law works. The challenge in Vriend was (in the words of Justice Russel): "The test was whether homosexuals as a group constituted a discrete and insular minority which had historically suffered discrimination, prejudice or stereotyping by virtue of a personal characteristic." and her finding was "[that] The discrimination against homosexuals is an historical, universal, notorious and indisputable social reality". It is important to remember that her decision was initially overturned by the Court of Appeal on the basis that she was "reading in" something that was not explicitly spelled out in the Act in question, and that doing so was incorrect because the existing Act was sufficiently "neutral" (general) and that there had been no constraint preventing the electorate from electing new representatives to reword the Act had there been sufficently widespread interest in doing so. Fortunately the Court of Appeal was overruled by the SCC, but it is vital to be aware that "constructionist" arguments are not solely an obstacle in the United States, they are here too (like the Court of Appeal), and they most definitely exist in the international arena.

I find it puzzling that post #6 never addresses why the reference to sexual orientation was even in the resolution in the first place, surely this would give me some pause before making a lengthy post that was essentially defending those who were seeking to remove it. As reported in the piece by UKHRB:

UKHRB wrote:

The reference to sexual orientation had been included in the resolution since 1999, based on the repeated and express concern of the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary and Arbitrary Executions for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people as victims of such crimes - a concern that persists in his most recent report.

[emphasis added]

One might also consider the response of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) to the amendment and the vote:

IGLHRC wrote:

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 criminalize homosexuality, five consider it a capital crime, and countries like Uganda are considering adding the death penalty to their laws criminalizing homosexuality.

As the UK Human Rights Blog goes on to point out:

UKHRB wrote:

No amendment was proposed to generalise the specific references in paragraph 6 (b) to killings targeted at racial, national, ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities; street children; human rights defenders including lawyers, journalists and demonstrators; refugees; migrants or indigenous people. Only the reference to sexual orientation was deleted.

[emphasis added]

And yet the poster, having announced that he won't comment on the motivations behind the amendment because he doen't know (and apparently didn't bother to find out) what they were, alludes to the possibility that there may be some confusion over the definition of what the designation "sexual orientation" actually represents (but isn't sure if that is a problem or not), and suggests that it might be "arguable" that removing a specific reason (leaving all other specified reasons untouched) is somehow more "inclusive" can go on to make the outrageous assertion:

M. Spector wrote:

But I will comment on the effect of the amendment upon the resolution as a whole, which is to say, none at all.

WTF? After attempting to avoid any burden of examining the motivations behind the amendment, having provided no background history on the fight to get sexual orientation recognized (here in Canada, in other countries, or internationally), having failed to say anything about the current (and escalating) violence against LGBT communities internationally (the existence of this violence and the fact that is escalating is something that I will, to steal a phrase from Justice Russel, assert is "a notorious and indisputable social reality"), the poster is going to blandly assert that the effect of removing one of the few explicit references to the LGBT communities in the international discourse is essentially "nothing at all" (and then have someone chime in with "That was my initial non-expert opinion as well - thanks for making it explicit.") leaves me getting up from my desk, walking back and forth in the hallway saying "WTF, WTF, WTF, WTF, WTF IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE".

What part about the equation that (explicitly) acknowledging the existence of a suspect class is a prerequisite to taking necessary actions to prevent discrimination (up to and including, in the matter of the resolution this is all in reference to, the extra-judicial killing of) the suspect class is so bloody hard to understand? How can anyone assert that removing any reference to sexual orientation from this resolution is anything other than a transparent attempt to avoid international criticism for either actively oppressing or failing to protect a vulnerable class within the borders of a state actor?

 

M. Spector wrote:

Rather than relying on the bourgeois, agenda-driven news media to explain things for me, I decided to take a look at the actual resolution and the actual amendment in question. And when I did, it was clear that the resolution as amended does not in any way countenance the "extra-judicial, summary, or arbitrary execution" (which is what the subject of the resolution was) of GLBTQ+++ people or anyone else. In fact, if the object of Morocco and Mali in moving the amendment was to exempt this class of persons from the UN's prohibition on extra-judicial, summary, or arbitrary executions, then they failed miserably.

[Because of intermittent problems with the link provided to the resolution in post #6, I have copied the relevant paragraph of that resolution being discussed below - strike through indicates wording removed by the amendment, and bold indicates the replacement wording. The text of the full resolution should be accessible at: A/C.3/65/L.29/Rev.1, but please be aware it is a two step link, you will be shown a bar where you must pick which language you wish to see the text in, rather than being linked directly to the PDF of English language version directly]

Quote:

(b) To ensure the effective protection of the right to life of all persons under their jurisdiction and to investigate promptly and thoroughly all killings, including those targeted at specific groups of persons, such as racially motivated violence leading to the death of the victim, killings of persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities, killings of persons affected by terrorism or hostage-taking or living under foreign occupation, killings of refugees, internally displaced persons, migrants, street children or members of indigenous communities, killings of persons for reasons related to their activities as human rights defenders, lawyers, journalists or demonstrators, killings committed in the name of passion or in the name of honour, all killings committed for any discriminatory reason, including sexual orientation discriminatory reasons on any basis, as well as all other cases where a person's right to life has been violated, and to bring those responsible to justice before a competent, independent and impartial judiciary at the national or, where appropriate, international level, and to ensure that such killings, including those committed by security forces, police and law enforcement agents, paramilitary groups or private forces, are neither condoned nor sanctioned by State officials or personnel;

Well it all hinges on how we are going to consider the word countenance, doesn't it? If we are taking countenance to be strictly synonymous with "extending approval" the poster is correct in his assertions. If, however, we take the time consider the guiding maxim in the legal system most of us are familiar with Qui tacet consentiret (literally, silence gives consent) removing reference to the suspect class is in fact forcing silence, and therefore is consenting or countenancing, turning a blind eye towards, tolerating, and ultimately even tacitly approving. Again, since the motivation by the proponents is pretty clearly avoiding international criticisms for their actions, I think it is more likely that the poster is incorrect in his assertions. It is important to remember, this is not a case of having failed to include in the first place, this is a case of actively excluding, or intentionally removing reference. Again, it is vital to pay attention to the fact that "sexual orientation" is the sole focus of the amendment, and the only class among a long list of specific groups, that explicit reference to was removed.

I do find the descriptor "the bourgeois, agenda-driven media" somewhat curious. As I will spell out a bit later in my post, despite assertions to the contrary by the poster of post #6, the MSM has essentially buried and ignored this story, but his reference is to the "bourgeois, agenda-driven media... whatever can he mean?

Where the story has been covered is in the LGBT media - not only in North America and Europe, but world-wide, I guess that covers the "agenda-driven" part of the descriptor. What am I to make of the "bourgeois part"? I have a few problems with the language being employed, in no small part, because of the cross-linking of this thread with the Cuban Prison Hunger Striker Orlando Zapata Tamayo ... was an ordinary criminal thread. Given the history of many self-identified "Marxist" states and political parties attempting to justify their ideological musings and outright repression of LGBT individuals and communities on the basis of the "Stalinist" assertion that "homosexuality was a sign of the degeneracy of the [fascist] bourgeoisie" -- in my experience, usually shorthanded to "homosexuality is a symptom of of bourgeois decadence" by the self-identified "Marxist" parties domestically [CPC, CPC(M-L), WCP] -- I find the choice of terminology at best troubling, at worst outright offensive. Is the use of "bourgeois" intended as merely a mild pejorative (as it is often used in lefty circles, I know I use it myself that way) or is it used in the stronger, essentially Stalinist sense? In either case, I would be interested in seeing an explanation of why it is being used in particular reference to the LGBT media.

M. Spector wrote:

The amended resolution is still plenty broad enough to prohibit such executions of any persons on account of their sexual orientation. This is not, as the bourgeois media tried to portray it, the removal of sexual orientation from a definitive list of protected categories, such as you would find in the anti-discrimination provisions of most human rights codes. In the case of the latter, if you're not specifically listed, then you're not protected. But in the case of the UN resolution, that is not the effect of the amendment at all. You really should read the whole thing.

I find that the author of post #6 is displaying a fundamental misunderstanding of the import of General Assembly resolutions (and yes I have read "the whole thing"). And while I agree there is a distinction to to be made between UN Resolutions and human rights codes in varying jurisdictions, that distinction has to do with whether or not it is binding and enforceable. The equation regarding identification of the suspect class and the applicability of anti- discrimination clauses still holds.

Earlier in post #6 it was asserted "the effect of the amendment upon the resolution as a whole, which is to say, none at all" and yet here it is maintained that "[t]he amended resolution is still plenty broad enough to prohibit such executions". To put it bluntly, the resolution (amended or not) prohibits nothing... General Assembly resolutions are not not considered "binding" on members. No individual or state actor can actually "take another to court" because the second state actor has acted contrary to a General Assembly resolution. They are, essentially, statements of intent. A treaty might prohibit, a convention might prohibit, a General Assembly resolution, not so much. Where they are important is when they are referred to in circumstances where there are binding agreements between states. The concluding paragaph of the UKHRB analysis spells this out quite well:

UKHRB wrote:

Although the UN General Assembly lacks formal legislative authority and resolutions are generally held to be non-binding on member states, the International Court of Justice has considered such resolutions, whilst being recommendatory in nature, capable of having legal significance as being reflective of customary international law.

[emphasis added]

M. Spector wrote:

While we're all being shocked and appalled, we might also wonder why the United States abstained on passing the amended resolution. The vote on the amendment was widely reported in the MSM, but very few of them reported that the amended resolution was passed on a vote of [url=http://www.un.org/en/ga/third/65/docs/voting_sheets/L.29Rev.1.pdf]165-0, with 10 abstentions[/url], including the United States, Zimbabwe, Turkey, Sudan, Sri Lanka - Israel, of course - Libya, Tuvalu, and other beacons of human rights and liberty. Nah, no news story there!

I am beyond puzzled about the reference "[t]he vote on the amendment was widely reported in the MSM", and would really like to see such an assertion documented. Personally, after having done the prerequisite "googling" of the topic in general, I have found that using the search engines on CTV, CNN, CBC, The Globe and Mail, etc. (using the search parameters of "United Nations" and "Sexual Orientation") results in a short Reuters item, and a sidebar comment on CBC in a story talking about the particular situation in Uganda. Searching the BBC site does actual provides a hit, albeit to a linked blog under the section "Ethics, Religion". If this qualifies as "being widely reported in the MSM", it boggles my mind to try and determine what would be considered "buried" or "ignored".

While I can (and did in my OP) link to reporting in the LGBT media in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K., and after relatively extensive searching, can find references out of Trinidad, Kenya and South Africa (two from South Africa actually, here and here), and while I do remember seeing a brief piece on a site from an English-language newspaper site from India (afraid I lost the url so I can't link), I am not finding much in what I consider the MSM. Maybe the poster is referring to non-English language coverage, which I must admit I am not well qualified to search. If the commercial, main stream media in the French speaking, Spanish speaking, Arabic speaking (well you get the idea) world are profiling this I would be most interested in hearing about it, could be a lively discussion of why only the anglosphere is avoiding the topic if that is the case. Or maybe not.

As to who voted which way on the final (post amendment) version of the resolution. My what lovely fish is being displayed. Herring, isn't it?

Frankly here, within the confines of the LGBT forum, irrelevant attempts (even subtle ones like the "Israel, of course") to valorize or villify any particular state actor amount to an insult to the mandate of the particular forum. I am quite aware that there are many state actors deserving either valourization or villification on any number of issues - and even those actors who have done something that most of us would consider positive are almost always wide open to accusations of hypocrisy, often on exactly the same issue. But unless there is a clear connection drawn to the issue which may be at hand, and within this particular forum, phrased in such a way as to address the mandate of the forum, post and comments whose primary purpose is to continue to play the valourize/villify game are really just a rude distraction. I may have read too much into the interconnectedness between this thread and the one on the Cuban prisoner and am being hypersensitive to some of the terminology being employed. Yeah, it could be the case. But I feel there are enough precedents, mostly in the way the QUAIA related threads within this past spring, turned into a valourize/villify free for all over Israel, for me to indulge myself, at least to point of suggesting it is more appropriate for that little game to play itself out in the thread in which it started.

 

[late addition - November 30 update... oh, there is a new reference to the story today that can be found, should be particularly interesting to those who want to valorize or villify state actors, of course they may wish to characterize it as a a bourgeois adgenda-driven piece, but they have that freedom, don't they.]

[ETA - I have gone in and corrected a typo, I am sure there are more lurking (it is kind of a long post) and I may do this (correcting) again, but I will clearly identify any substantial change or addition]

Freedom 55

Thanks for taking the time to challenge the spin from upthread, bagkitty.

Snert Snert's picture

Quote:
My point is, if the right-wing Canadian or UK governments had backed this change, I doubt Snert would care.

 

I'd be considerably more surprised, and orders of magnitude more disgusted. Uganda voting this way, frankly, doesn't shock me. But I was surprised at Cuba and would be very surprised if Canada were to join them.

 

I wonder though, now that you've brought it up, whether we'd as happily accept the idea that Canada could vote this way, and push its gay citizens under the bus, in order to indulge in a bit of diplomatic back scratching with Saudi Arabia or whatever.

 

Quote:
As usual Snert you only vilify a country the evil empire hates.  What about its friends and allies why only Cuba?

 

As I said, because this surprised me. Which is actually a good thing, really. When countries don't surprise me (eg: Iran) that's only because they're too far gone. Heck, ask Iran and they'll say they don't even HAVE homosexuals, or if they have a few, they've just been corrupted by Western decadent morals. But my understanding had been that Cuba wasn't like that anymore.

 

Again let me point out: this vote doesn't represent a reluctance to move forward, it's an active desire to move backward.

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Freedom 55 wrote:

Thanks for taking the time to challenge the spin from upthread, bagkitty.

Hey no problem Freedom 55. I must admit, though, I am surprised (and more than a little disappointed) that we are still waiting for a moderator (or other official) intervention on this particular topic. I have, of course, a somewhat biased take on this, but the kind of crap that was being spewed above takes me back to the early 1980s and battles with the university administration (McGill in my case) and the member papers of Canadian University Press trying to get protection on the basis of sexual orientation adopted into their various governing codes. The arguments are nauseatingly similar - with particular reference to the argument about there being "no agreed [international] definition of what "sexual orientation" means" - I was getting flashbacks to a couple of particularly pompous, doughy-faced corporate appointees to McGill's Board of Governors who tied us up for months trying to get the wording into the university's Code of Student Conduct when the wording was already in place in the provincial charter of rights. The being told that progress on "gay" issues was something that was solely the result of actions by the anti-colonialist/anti-rascist crowd [an assertion that I must admit was edited and modified (after I challenged the poster)] kinda stuck in my craw too - brings back memories of those self-proclaimed anti-colonialists and anti-rascists (or at least those who had the jargon down best) intervening to try and block us claiming our efforts were a "diversion" to the "real" issues.

I wish the whole "NOT intended as a place where the basic and fundamental values of human rights, feminism, anti-racism and labour rights are to be debated or refought" applied to LGBT interests - but I am increasingly left with the impression that it doesn't. Must be a decadent bourgeois mindset that I can't shake off.

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

It is a little troubling to see the characterization of this motion presented in Sasha Van Bon Bon's column today (linked on the rabble front page) where she writes:

Quote:

This past week a group of Arab and African nations succeeded in getting a resolution that condemns executions based on sexual orientation deleted from a list that includes "killings for racial, national, ethnic, religious or linguistic reasons and killings of refugees, indigenous people and other groups".

[emphasis added]

While I realize that her column is not usually directed towards international affairs, I think there should have been some attention paid to nuances. When speaking to the amendment, it was quite clear that proponents were claiming to speak representing the views of (the majority at least) of the UN's African regional grouping (although close to a third of the states in that grouping [16 of 53 by my count] either abstained or choose to be absent during the vote) or on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (with several notable absences to be taken into account).

Snert Snert's picture

An abstention, to me, is like a hockey player or soccer player who just stands there on the ice/field watching the opposing team score.  I don't know that I'm going to raise a toast to the courage of any nation who played it safe by not voting against this.

Maysie Maysie's picture

Anyone who isn't able to post here from a perspective that centers LGBTQ rights and freedoms needs to stay out of this thread and perhaps this forum. You know who you are. First and last warning.

Minimizing the impact of this homophobic resolution falls under that category.

Sorry for the delay in getting here, kitty.

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

@Snert

Given the pressure that is brought to bear on members of the OAU (in particular) to present a common front, and - working under the (charitable) assumption that the South African vote on this amendment is most likely a consequence of exactly that kind of pressure - I am more inclined to grant the benefit of the doubt to those who abstained or choose to be absent from the vote than I am for those states who were "good team players". I would, of course, have been more pleased to see some of them actively break ranks and voting against the amendment... but given my understanding of the "team sport" ethos, I think they will pay a price in the locker room for "just standing there".

Charlene71

I am not surprised by the vote of most of these countries, but China?!?!  I thought homosexuality is competely legal in China and is pretty prevelent in the major cities...

Ken Burch

No, the Chinese Capitalist regime has been fairly bad on that one.

Snert Snert's picture

Quote:

No, the Chinese Capitalist regime has been fairly bad on that one.

 

Heee. Are they Capitalists when you disagree with them, or was there a coup over the weekend and nobody told me?

Ken Burch

They've been capitalists for decades.  The "Party" is just a control apparatus.  Nothing that happens in that country has any connection with the values of socialism as anyone knows it.  Almost all of the economy has been privatized, prices are uncontrolled, housing prices have skyrocketed.  It's capitalist and you might as well admit it.

 

Snert Snert's picture

I will if they will ;)

kropotkin1951

It is the much the same capitalist model used in South Korea and Indonesia, one party states with their hierarchy making fortunes.  Not to be confused with two party states where both parties agree that neo-con capitalism is the best.

Maysie Maysie's picture

Hey can we stick to the thread topic please? Open a new thread on China if you like. Thanks.

voice of the damned

kropotkin1951 wrote:

It is the much the same capitalist model used in South Korea and Indonesia, one party states with their hierarchy making fortunes.  

Parties represented in the South Korean National Assembly currently run the gamut from Democratic Labour(who are at least as left-wing as the NDP) to the Grand National Party(who are comparable Stephen Harper's Tories) with the United Democratic Party occupying most of the centrist territory. And all of those parties, plus numerous others, fielded candidates in the last presidential election.  

There are many problems with government and society in South Korea. But a one-party state it is not.

(Sorry, Maysie, I wanted to make that correction, but didn't think it economical to start a whole new thread.)

 

 

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Probably too late to make any difference, but I have found out that the IGLHRC has an online petition demanding that the General Assembly overturn the committee's amendment and retain sexual orientation in the resolution. The vote is scheduled for today, I only just now found the link on Towleroad.

You can sign the petition at:

IGLRHC PETITION