SA's UN vote a setback for human rights - DA

Kenneth Mubu
21 November 2010

Reference to sexual orientation excised from resolution condemning unjustified executions

United Nations resolution: South Africa vote is a setback for advancement of LGBT rights

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is stunned that South Africa's United Nations delegation has voted to remove reference to sexual orientation from a United Nations resolution on extrajudicial killings (see Reuters report).

Disappointingly, 79 states voted to remove reference to sexual orientation from the resolution. Amongst them were six states which still carry the death penalty for consensual sexual acts between adults of the same sex - Iran, Nigeria, Yemen, the United Arab Emirates, Sudan and Saudi Arabia.

Others who voted for the amendment include Uganda, Saudi Arabia, Zimbabwe, Uzbekistan, Syria, Belize, Libya, Tanzania, Comoros, Lebanon, Ethiopia, Morocco, Burundi, Eritrea, Angola, Kenya, Cameroon, Algeria, Tunisia, Kuwait, Ghana, Liberia, Senegal, Guyana, Jamaica, Sierra Leone, Malawi and Malaysia.

In all of these states, homosexual acts are illegal, and punishments vary from public floggings to hefty, and in some case life, sentences.

The amendment to this resolution, which was adopted this last week, passed by just nine votes. 70 more progressively minded states voted against the amendment.

South Africa's UN representative offered a ridiculous explanation for our vote, saying - according to the official UN minutes - that international law is insufficiently clear on the definition of sexual orientation.

The Minister of International Relations would do well to explain why this ‘concern' did not prevent 70 other states from voting against the amendment.

With neighbouring countries like Lesotho, Namibia, Botswana and Mozambique joining South Africa in voting in favour of this amendment, it is quite conceivable that, had South Africa adopted a more principled stance, we could have influenced enough other states in the region to take up the same position, and thus change the outcome of the final vote.

Before becoming president, Jacob Zuma repeatedly demonstrated severe insensitivity to the rights of gay and lesbian South Aricans. On one occasion, he stated: "When I was growing up, an ungqingili (homosexual) would not have stood in front of me. I would knock him out."

More recently, the president appointed Jon Qwelane, an outspoken homophobe, as Ambassador to Uganda.

Now, we are voting at the UN to weaken the international community's response to extrajudicial killings based on sexual orientation.

South Africa should be leading the way in promoting LGBT rights on the African continent, and further afield. Our foreign policy should set an example. Instead, we are voting with states that publically flog and execute their own citizens.

There is absolutely clear evidence that sexual orientation has been a motive for many extrajudicial killings, and that the inclusion of reference to sexual orientation in this resolution was therefore appropriate and necessary.

The Zuma administration cannot remain silent on this issue, and I will write to the Minister of International Relations today on this matter, and submit parliamentary questions to her department at the next opportunity to do so.

Statement issued by Kenneth Mubu MP, Democratic Alliance Shadow Minister of International Relations, November 19 2010

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Arab and African nations succeeded Tuesday in getting a U.N. General Assembly panel to delete from a resolution condemning unjustified executions a specific reference to killings due to sexual orientation. Western delegations expressed disappointment in the human rights committee's vote to remove the reference to slayings due to sexual orientation from the resolution on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions."
Reuters, November 17 2010


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 responses to this article

Killings of christians???
To Realist: You just showed your ignorant true colors....NUH?? Your statemnet assumes that gay people are not Christain. Gay peiople can be any religion and their equality is the same as yours and your religious beliefs!!!

by Anthony on November 22 2010, 07:50
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Well well well

I listened to a radio programme where Usubius Mc Kaiser nit picked the DA on their stance toward gays. Check this out Usubius. !!!!!
The DA is indeed a Progressive Liberal Party. The DA has my full support.

by DM on November 22 2010, 13:59
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@ Anthony
LOL. Alas, due to our resident censors (DA supporters, perhaps?), your response to my original posting is floating around without context or meaning. Ai, that's censorship for you: it takes the fun out of reacting to people who don't share your views. LOL

by Realist on November 22 2010, 17:21
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Gays and religion
So what if gays are christian or not. Since when is there a connection between being gay and one's religious beliefs, or lack thereof. Relligion has caused, and is causing, far more problems in this world than any individual's sexual orientation. What . .more

by Jeff on November 22 2010, 20:02
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Just goes to show ....
... according to the ANC our Constitution is meaningless to them.

by Saffer on November 23 2010, 13:27
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Thank You
Thank you, DA for taking up this issue. I am really disappointed by the South African vote, and want to know what we have to do to get a better government response on issues like this in the future, and whether there is any way to overturn this? South . .more

by Nicol Hammond on November 23 2010, 16:03
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