Geneva-based rights group UN Watch has welcomed UN chief Ban Ki-moon’s recognition of staffers’ same-sex marriages, but said the world body would only send a clear message on equal rights when its top human rights bodies “stop adopting anti-gay resolutions, and stop promoting those who kill, persecute and criminalize gays.”
“We urge the Secretary-General to call out the UN Human Rights Council for its renewed spate of anti-gay measures, as well as all influential UN bodies that are electing and empowering abusers,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch.
In its latest June session, the UNHRC again refused, as it has done now for three years, to oppose violence against gays. Instead, on June 27th, it launched yet another thinly-veiled attack on gays by adopting a widely-condemned resolution entitled “Protection of the Family”, co-sponsored by abuser states such as Qatar and Mauritania, both on the list of 10 countries where homosexuality is punishable by death.
“When democracies sought to expand the definition of family, the UNHRC’s anti-gay majority shut down all debate through a ‘No Action’ motion, a draconian measure used only once before in the entire history of the Council’s 46 regular and special sessions,” said Neuer.
“All of this comes as the Council continues to adopt similar resolutions invoking ‘traditional values’ — discourse which has been used by Russia, Nigeria and Uganda to justify anti-gay legislation,” Neuer added.
Neuer expressed alarm at recent UN decisions that “elevate and empower notorious perpetrators of anti-gay discrimination,” saying such actions “send the worst message and only ensure the further undermining of fundamental human rights”.
In a move that elicited wide criticism, the UN General Assembly unanimously elected Ugandan Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa, who supports his country’s infamously strict anti-gay laws, as president for the next year.
Also, Saudi Arabia, which executes gays, was recently elected to the UN Human Rights Council, as was the United Arab Emirates, which has similar laws. Russia took its seat this year despite anti-gay laws. Numerous other of the 47 UNHRC member states have laws making homosexuality illegal, including: Algeria, Botswana, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Kuwait, Maldives, Morocco, Namibia and Sierra Leone.
In addition, other top UN human rights bodies have promoted various abusers.
The UN Committee on NGOs, which oversees the work of human rights groups, recently made Sudan its Vice-Chair, even though it executes gays; Pakistan was made chair, though its laws make homosexuality illegal, as do other committee members such as Burundi, India, Morocco, Mozambique, and Senegal.
ECOSOC, a top UN organ which oversees the work of UN human rights commissions, includes Nigeria and Sudan, which execute gays; and countries that make homosexuality illegal such as Bangladesh, Indonesia, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Libya and Turkmenistan.
The UN Committee on the Status of Women includes Iran, Mauritania and Sudan, which execute gays; and countries that make homosexuality illegal such as Qatar, Somalia, and Yemen.
UN Watch is a Geneva-based human rights organization founded in 1993 to monitor UN compliance with the principles of its Charter. It is an accredited NGO in Special Consultative Status to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and as an associate NGO to the UN Department of Public Information (DPI).