United Nations: Amended resolution without 'sexual orientation'

“During action on the draft resolution on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, the Committee engaged in a debate over and ultimately approved by a vote of 79 in favour to 70 against with 17 abstentions an amendment removing “sexual orientation” as one of the discriminatory reasons that killings had been committed and warranted investigation.

The representative of Benin, on behalf of the African Group, the main sponsor of the amendment, said that sexual orientation had no legal foundation in any international human rights instruments and there was no legal justification to highlight it. St. Lucia stated that listing specific groups was dangerous because it could lead to the omission of some people and legal manipulation by following the letter of the law in an unintended way, while Morocco asserted that such selectivity should be avoided because it accommodated particular interests and groups over others. South Africa added that a formal process to define sexual orientation and its parameters under human rights law was needed to prevent future division on the issue.

On the other hand, the representative of Sweden stated that sexual orientation had often been the motive for extrajudicial killings, and the deletion of the reference would amount to the Committee looking the other way concerning arbitrary executions based on sexual orientation. Both Finland and France noted that the reference to sexual orientation had been included in the resolution since 1999, based on the Special Rapporteur’s concern for homosexuals that had been victims of such crimes – a concern that still persisted. Switzerland pointed out that homophobic violence was still a reality caused by law enforcement forces in many countries.”

  • Source: General Assembly - GA/SHC/3997 (Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York) (Highlighting by Gunda-Werner-Institute)

The above mentioned General Assembly - GA/SHC/3997 contains further details about the amendment (document A/C.3/65/L.65) and declarations by individual member countries.

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