18 December 2008
Sixty-six countries signed a joint statement in support of LGBT human rights, which was tabled at the United Nations General Assembly today.
Armenia was the first country in the South Caucasus and broader region to endorse the statement. In a welcome move, Georgia then joined in too. Russia, Turkey and Azerbaijan did not endorse it.
Not surprisingly, there is no US signature there. As far as I understand, this statement is open and in time other countries may join in too. So hopefully Obama's new US administration will follow its promises and sign it.
The 66 countries that signed the joint UN statement for LGBT human rights are:
Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guinea-Bissau, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Montenegro, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, United Kingdom, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
The UN statement, which includes a call for the decriminalisation of homosexuality worldwide, was read by Argentina.
For more details on this statement, read my previous post here: http://gayarmenia.blogspot.com/2008/12/armenia-endorses-historic-un-statement.html
"This was history in the making. Totally ground-breaking. It is the first time that the UN General Assembly has been presented with a statement in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT)human rights. Securing this statement at the UN is the result of an inspiring collective global effort by many LGBT and human rights organisations. Our collaboration, unity and solidarity have won us this success," said Peter Tatchell of the British LGBT human rights movement, OutRage!, which lobbied for countries to support the statement.
"To decriminalise homosexuality worldwide is a battle for human rights," added Louis-Georges Tin, the President and founder of the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO), which in 2006 initiated the global campaign to end the criminalisation of same-sex relationships and secured the support of dozens of international public figures, ranging from Nobel Prize winners to writers, clergy,actors, musicians and academics."IDAHO has worked hard for two years to promote this issue. For us,this is a great achievement. I want to thank the many other people and organisations who have worked with us since the beginning, and more recently. I also want to remind everyone that ending the criminalisation of same-sex love will be a long, hard battle. To love is not a crime".
"IDAHO expresses its particular appreciation to the French Secretary of State for human rights, Ms Rama Yade, for her role in organising this statement and bringing it to the UN," said Mr Tin.
Mr Tatchell added:
"The original initiative for the universal decriminalisation of homosexuality campaign came from the inspiring French black activist and gay rights campaigner, Louis-Georges Tin, coordinator of the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO). He lobbied the French government, which agreed to take the lead in organising the presentation of the statement at the UN.
"As well as IDAHO, I pay tribute to the contribution and lobbying of Amnesty International; ARC International; Center for Women's Global Leadership; COC Netherlands; Global Rights; Human Rights Watch; International Committee for IDAHO (the International Day Against Homophobia); International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC); International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Association (ILGA); International Service for Human Rights; Pan Africa ILGA; and Public Services International.
"The UN statement goes much further than seeking the decriminalisation of same-sex acts. It condemns all human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity, urges countries to protect the human rights of LGBT people and to bring to justice those who violate these rights, and calls for human rights defenders who oppose homophobic and transphobic victimisation to be allowed to carry out their advocacy and humanitarian work unimpeded.
"Although not binding on the member states, this UN statement of principle has immense symbolic value, given the six decades in which homophobic and transphobic persecution has been ignored by the UN General Assembly.
On May 17 2006, the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO), the IDAHO Committee launched a campaign « for the universal decriminalisation of homosexuality », and published a list of the first signatories, which include several Nobel Prize winners: (Desmond Tutu, Elfriede Jelinek, José Saramago, Dario Fo, Amartya Sen), entertainers (Merryl Streep, Victoria Abril, Cyndi Lauper, Elton John, David Bowie), intellectuals (Judith Butler, Noam Chomsky, Bernard-Henri Lévy), and humanitarian organisations like ILGA, Aids International and the FIDH.
On IDAHO 2008 (17 May this year) the French government announced that it would bring a LGBT human rights statement to the General Assembly of the United Nations. The text was read today in New York, and was supported by 66 countries in the world, and it clearly inscribes sexual orientation and gender identity as human rights.