United Nations Passes Resolution Condemning the Execution of Gay People

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While the “Kill the Gays” bill in Uganda was passed by a committee vote on November 23 (now to be debated in parliament), the global outcry against such harmful laws turned into action as an international coalition of organizations dedicated to human rights voted in the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to pass resolution A/C.3/67/L.36 that condemns extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions/killings based on sexual orientation. The vote reversed the events of 2010 when the same body voted to strip the resolution of reference to “sexual orientation.” The UNGA also expanded upon its commitment to the universality of human rights by including “gender identity” for the first time in the resolution’s history.

The resolution, which is introduced biennially in the Third Committee, urges States to protect the right to life of all people, including by calling upon States to investigate killings based on discriminatory grounds. It was introduced by the Government of Sweden and co-sponsored by 34 states from around the world. It was a universal decision to include sexuality as an amendment. The United Arab Emirates was the first to proposed its elimination, but they were overruled by more than 42 nations.

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Many governments, including Brazil, the United States and South Africa, among others, spoke out to condemn the proposed amendment to remove reference to sexual orientation and gender identity. The Government of Japan ended the silence that has often characterized the Asian Group’s participation on LGBT rights at the UNGA by stating, “We cannot tolerate any killings of persons because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Our delegation voted against the proposed amendment to this paragraph because we think it is meaningful to mention such killings from the perspective of protecting the rights of LGBT people.” [PR]

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