Very interesting stuff: the UN (that beacon of hope for human rights - NOT) voted on a resolution demanding basic civil rights for gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgendered (lgbt) people. Some 66 countries supported the resolution, and not unexpectedly, to quote Donald Rumsfeld, Old European countries with their respect for civil rights feature prominently on the list. No surprise, unfortunately, that thuggish places like Saudia Arabia, Russia, Jamaica and others are missing in action. No surprise either that the USA and the Vatican cannot be found on the list of supporters of the human rights of lgbt people. No surprise also that South Africa, sliding ever faster itself into a Zimbabwe type failed state, is absent among the signatories of the resolution, despite the fact that the country's progressive constitution binds the government of the day to recognize the rights of lgbt folks.
It's probably useful to reflect on this also in the context of high hopes that people have for the incoming Obama administration in the USA. This guy (leaving aside for a moment the fact that he doesn't even support the idea of universal health care in the USA) has announced today that a known homophobic evangelical preacher will hold the sermon during his inauguration ceremony.
Here then the complete honor list (keep em in mind, next time you plan a vacation!):
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.
Here's a Background briefing from IDAHO, the organisation that launched a campaign to get this resolution off the ground:
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.
The IDAHO Committee is the NGO coordinating the International Day Against Homophobia. This day is celebrated in more than 50 countries in the world, and is officially recognised by the European Union, Belgium, United Kingdom, France, Mexico, Costa-Rica, etc. These actions support international campaigns, like the call launched in 2006 "for a universal decriminalisation of homosexuality"