Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Wash Post:
Protecting Gay Rights: UN March 7 Debate

Over at the Washington Post, my young friend James Kirchick, who is a fellow at the Foundation for Defense Democracies, has published a terrific opinion column about the UN debate tomorrow on violence against LGBTI person and some of the problems associated with promoting human rights protections for our community.

Click here to read the sign-in letter from LGBTI activists from around the world publicizing the debate, and go here to read about yesterday's story on the letter and UN debate that ran on the Gay Star News site.

Here are excerpts from the Post:

For many, “gay rights” is associated with the debate over whether gay people should be allowed to marry, adopt children or serve openly in the military. But a discussion looming before the United Nations this week is far more basic: whether gays should enjoy the basic right to life.

On Wednesday the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva is to discuss the recommendations of a November report surveying the discrimination and abuse — often state-sponsored — that gay people endure around the world. The findings are chilling: Some 680 transgender people were murdered in 50 countries between 2008 and 2011; 76 countries classify homosexuality as a crime, and at least five of those apply the death penalty. Even those who disapprove of homosexuality on religious grounds are unlikely to object to the report’s anodyne recommendations: that governments should decriminalize homosexuality, work to prevent violence against gays and recognize sexual orientation as a valid cause for asylum.

But not everyone welcomes the report’s conclusions. The most vociferous opposition has come from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, a group of 57 Muslim states. “We note with concern the attempts to create controversial ‘new notions’ or ‘new standards’ by misinterpreting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international treaties to include such notions that were never articulated or agreed to by the U.N. membership,” Zamir Akram, Pakistan’s ambassador to the U.N. office in Geneva, wrote to the president of the Human Rights Council on the Muslim organization’s behalf.

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