In a victory for equality everywhere, the United Nations Human Rights Council passed a resolution today explicitly supporting equal rights for people of all sexual orientations. The resolution passed with 23 votes in support, 19 against, and three abstentions. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has made gay rights a central part of America’s human rights agenda and the State Department is heralding the vote as a major victory for America’s effort to push lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights at the UN:
The United States joined the UN Human Rights Council in 2009 to change a flawed institution from within through direct and sustained engagement. Since then, we have worked in the Council to shine the spotlight on human rights abusers, promote tolerance for religious beliefs, and mobilize international action against hate. We will continue to stand firm on behalf of all who are at risk of violence or discrimination. And we will continue to work to ensure that rights that are universally held are universally protected.
Here is a breakdown of the vote:
In favor: Argentina; Belgium; Brazil; Chile; Cuba; Ecuador; France; Guatemala; Hungary; Japan; Mauritius; Mexico; Norway; Poland; Republic of Korea; Slovakia; Spain; Switzerland; Thailand; Ukraine; United Kingdom; United States and Uruguay.
Against: Angola; Bahrain; Bangladesh; Cameroon; Djibouti; Gabon; Ghana; Jordan; Malaysia; Maldives; Mauritania; Nigeria; Pakistan; Qatar; Republic of Moldova; Russian Federation; Saudi Arabia; Senegal and Uganda.
Abstentions: Burkina Faso; China and Zambia.
Of all the opposing votes, Nigeria and Mauritania took the strongest stance. Before the vote, Nigeria’s Ositadinma Anaedu reportedly “accused the resolution of disregarding the universality of human rights and putting individual conduct above international instruments” while Cheikh Ahmed Ould Zahaf of Mauritania claimed that “the resolution did not promote the advancement of human rights but rather the dehumanisation of human beings.”
Well, I know where I won’t be spending my vacation dollars.