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Nov 22

Countries Supporting Summary Gay Execution

Posted on Monday, November 22, 2010 in gay rights, human rights

These countries actually support the summary execution of gay people:

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, Grenada, 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, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, 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

Where do I start with this? Let me give you the context quickly:

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and ARC International are deeply disappointed with yesterday’s [16th Nov] vote in the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly to remove a reference to sexual orientation from a resolution on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. The resolution urges States to protect the right to life of all people, including by calling on states to investigate killings based on discriminatory grounds. For the past 10 years, the resolution has included sexual orientation in the list of discriminatory grounds on which killings are often based.

The removed reference was originally contained in a non-exhaustive list in the resolution highlighting the many groups of people that are particularly targeted by killings – including persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities, persons acting as human rights defenders (such as lawyers, journalists or demonstrators) as well as street children and members of indigenous communities. Mentioning sexual orientation as a basis on which people are targeted for killing highlights a situation in which particular vigilance is required in order for all people to be afforded equal protection.

The amendment removing the reference to sexual orientation was sponsored by Benin on behalf of the African Group in the UN General Assembly and was adopted with 79 votes in favor, 70 against, 17 abstentions and 26 absent.

I don’t know where to take this other than to say I’m aghast. I’m also shocked to see South Africa, which has gay equality enshrined in its post-apartheid constitution, on the list of 79. It’s otherwise a pretty comprehensive list of Christian and Muslim fundamentalist countries, whose motivations for such a move can only surely be interpreted as sinister. It still freaks me out to see anti-gay attitudes so prevalent in the modern world – Uganda of course is still at work trying to make homosexuality a capital offence – when what we know about homosexuality in the 21st century wipes out any justification for religious-based homophobia. As ever homophobia, like misogyny and other forms of discrimination, is without doubt a tool for specific groups to maintain their power bases within, in many cases, very deprived societies. What’s frightening is its scope and the international ambitions these groups (largely religious in name if not in nature) now have. I understand that because this vote came from the UN’s General Assembly it’s not a dark development within the United Nations Organisation itself (and can’t be overturned or suppressed), but it’s small comfort and many people won’t appreciate the difference.

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