“Horrific laws” condemning people to death because of whom they love are the focus of a new international proposal. “The question of the death penalty” resolution to denounce the most severe punishment for consensual same-sex relations was passed on Friday by the 47-member United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. Twenty-seven nations voted in favor of the resolution; 13 voted against it and 7 abstained.
“It is unconscionable to think that there are hundreds of millions of people living in States where somebody may be executed simply because of whom they love” Renato Sabbadini, executive director of The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), said in a statement. “This is a monumental moment where the international community has publicly highlighted that these horrific laws simply must end."
ILGA, a federation of more than 1,200 member organizations from 132 countries committed to equal human rights for LGBTI people that enjoys consultative status at the United Nations, called the resolution a “historic first.” The group produced a recent report and map that detail sexual orientation laws around the world.
The United States Voted "NO" against this resolution citing the death penalty in the country. More importantly US, President Trump recently threw his support behind a Senate candidate who may support the death penalty for gay people.
President Trump traveled to Saudi Arabia in May. He made no mention that consensual same-sex sexual relations remain punishable by death in the kingdom in a speech he gave in the Saudi capital of Riyadh.
Trump has also not publicly commented on the ongoing crackdown against LGBT Chechens.
The U.S. and 24 other countries in 2014 voted for a resolution against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender the U.N. Human Rights Council adopted. The body in 2011 narrowly approved a resolution in support of LGBT rights that South Africa introduced.
The resolution asked countries that have not yet abolished the death penalty to ensure that it is not “applied arbitrarily or in a discriminatory manner.”
Currently, there are six countries (eight if parts of Syria and Iraq occupied by Isis are included) where the death penalty is implemented for same-sex relations. (Penalty applies country-wide in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen, and in certain provinces in Nigeria and Somalia.)
In five other countries (Afghanistan, Mauritania, Pakistan, Qatar and the UAE) the interpretation of Sharia law technically permits the death penalty, but it is thought to not be invoked; these nations may implement lesser penalties, ILGA said. And in one nation (Brunei Darussalam) same-sex relations are illegal, but it has not yet put its criminal procedure code into effect.
The resolution also condemns the death penalty for adultery, noting that it is disproportionately imposed on women. In addition to focusing on gender and sexual orientation, the new resolution builds on a recent UN report that examined the question of the death penalty’s disproportionate or discriminatory impact on groups or people who: have mental or intellectual disabilities, are below 18 years of age at the time of the crime, economically vulnerable, foreign nationals, exercising their right to freedom of religion or belief and freedom of expression, belong to racial and ethnic minorities or are women who are pregnant.
Six attempts by Egypt, Russia and Saudi Arabia to amend the resolution and dilute its impact were each defeated in often-close voting, ILGA said. The group commended the eight countries that spearheaded the resolution – Belgium, Benin, Costa Rica, France, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia and Switzerland – for their leadership and support.
“They stood firm on principle through a difficult negotiation and voting period”, André du Plessis, head of UN Programme and Advocacy at ILGA, said in a statement.
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