June 21, 2011
Good Vibes from South Africa: Foreign Policy Breakthrough, Michelle Obama's Visit
UN resolution on the human rights of LGBT persons. By a vote of 23 to 19, the resolution was adopted, setting an international standard against the discrimination of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex people. The vote reflects the growing sentiment that LGBT rights are indeed human rights, and that people of all sexual orientations and identities deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. That sentiment is strong in South Africa, which has a strong record in advancing gay rights at home—including through constitutional protections and the recognition of same-sex marriage. The country’s leadership to advance human rights internationally is a welcome sign and will go a long way—as most African nations are either outright criminalizing homosexual behavior, or doing very little to protect LGBT persons from the everyday violence, harassment, and discrimination that surround them. Listen to FirstCast and learn more about LGBTI issues in Uganda featuring LGBTI activist Julius Kaggwa. Council for Global Equality, which have long championed the notion that LGBT rights deserve equal footing with other human rights. As a member of the Council for Global Equality, Human Rights First supports the resolution and will continue advocating for stronger government response to violence targeting LGBT people across the world. Although it is hailed as a major victory for the human rights community, several Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and African countries condemned the resolution, claiming that it fell outside the purview of the international human rights system. Therefore, it is up to civil society and the global advocacy community to ensure that today’s resolution supports human rights movements in places like Uganda, Malawi, and Russia, where LGBTs continue to experience acts of violence and oppression. Read more about Human Rights First’s work on behalf of LGBTI persons.