Today the Human Rights Council adopted its first ever resolution on gay rights with a vote of 23 to 19. Below are some excerpts from the speeches delivered during the adoption process.
“We commend the US for its strong leadership in the adoption of a landmark UN resolution for gay victims of persecution,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, a Geneva-based human rights monitor.
“Yet when it came to addressing the world’s most urgent situations, hypocrisy at the UN Human Rights Council reached new heights today when the 47-nation body condemned Israel for the fourth time, in a resolution sponsored by the Arab and Islamic states, about last year’s flotilla incident, while refusing to condemn Syria’s massacre of many hundreds in recent days. Yemen, Bahrain, and Iran also enjoyed impunity in today’s voting.”
South Africa: “When we were put in prison and repressed (during apartheid), we received help from all over the world, we never said we would not receive support because of sexual identity. And when we seek jobs, we do not seek them based on sexual identity.”
Brazil: “We are here today to live up to the commitment made in 1948 that all human beings are born equal and free.” And then “we hope that winds of change will inspire us for new perspectives.”
Pakistan said that introducing new rights “may misinterpret the Universal Declaration of Human Rights…these attempts jeopardize the entire human rights framework,” and that “while considering the issue of human rights many things must be kept in mind… these things [gay rights] have nothing to do with fundamental human rights.”
Nigeria said: “We are aware that 90% of South Africans do not support this resolution,” which prompted some noise in the room. He went on: “Such attemps constitute contempt to human rights… we are dealing with a matter with falls outside of human rights… and we want to make it very clear: no country should be restrained on having laws on sexual orientation.”
Saudi Arabia: As stated in the Vienna Declaration, cultural and religious considerations must be taken into acount on human rights. It is not acceptable and reasonable to impose views on other countries and that this is not only contrary to Sharia but also to all other monotheistic religions.
Mexico, supporting the draft, said: “We are human beings, and discrimination on sexual orientation is the same as others.”
Mauritania: “I wonder: Don’t you think this subject, in addition to being highly controversial on a cultural, religious and moral/ethical level, is it at the level of other subjects we are considering here like rights of women, poverty… ?”