While US lgbt activists chain themselves to White House gates and continue to put pressure on the Obama Administration to gain repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the U.S. representative to the UN Human Rights Committee yesterday abstained when a vote was taken on a resolution condemning extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions and other killings – the final resolution removed a specific mention of sexual orientation-based killings that had been included in the document since 2008.  The resolution specifies many other types of violence, including killings for racial, national, ethnic, religious or linguistic reasons and killings of refugees, indigenous people and other groups.  In 2008 the declaration included an explicit reference to killings committed because of the victims’ sexual preferences, but this year Morocco and Mali introduced an amendment on behalf of African and Islamic nations that called for deleting the words “sexual orientation” and replacing them with “discriminatory reasons on any basis.”

The US voted against the amendment, but then abstained when it came time to vote on the entire resolution.  Sure, UN politics made voting against the final resolution “inappropriate,” but that shouldn’t insulate the Administration for compromising on this extremely important change in the law.  This resolution was one of the few places in which the international system recognized the forms of violence and discrimination suffered by people on account of their real or perceived sexual orientation.  Now it’s gone.  Now extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions and other killings motivated by the victim’s sexual orientation will go without comment or condemnation from the United Nations General Assembly.

Read more here.


  1. Actually, to be fair, the US voted against the amendment that removed ‘sexual orientation’ from the EJE Resolution and spoke out vehemently against it as discriminatory. Still, their expected abstention on the resolution itself (explained by their representative as being based on issues relating to capitol punishment and their understanding of the relationship between international human rights law and international humanitarian law) meant that their much needed lobbying on the amendment was probably nonexistent or ineffective, contributing to the amendment’s adoption.

  2. Thanks for the clarification – once again, we see how lgbt rights and death penalty reform are tied to one another in a not terribly productive knot.

  3. IGLHRC has more, and better, information here: http://www.iglhrc.org/cgi-bin/iowa/article/pressroom/pressrelease/1257.html

  4. While We Yell At White House for Not Repealing DADT, US Sits on Its Hands For UN Vote Removing Condemnation Of… http://dlvr.it/8nkvz

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