UN’s commitment to human rights is a sad joke

When we think of homosexual intolerance in the West, we think opposition to gay marriage and intolerant jokes that are inherently anti-gay.

However, sitting on death row just because of your sexual preference — gives a whole new meaning to the word “intolerance.”

Homosexuality is placed right up there with murder and molestation. Making it a criminal act to choose a same-sex partner says a good deal of the progress we have made in conquering ignorance and backwards thinking.

Yet, we have no reason to worry! Our wonderful United Nations has our backs!

Right?

Wrong.

A United Nations committee on social, cultural and humanitarian issues has deleted a reference to sexual orientation addressing extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. Morocco and Mali, as well as a number of nations from Africa and the Middle East voted heavily in favour of the change. These countries currently criminalize homosexuality; some treat it as a capital offence.

The proposal had the terms “sexual orientation” replaced with a more vague phrase of condemning executions for any “discriminatory reason on any basis.”

This references a large number of groups, such as human rights defenders, religious and ethnic groups as well as street children. The amendment has contained the reference to sexual orientation for the last ten years, is voted every two years and now, in what I’d like to think is the peak of gay rights awareness, has been deleted. It was a narrow margin, 79-70 and was approved by the UN General Assembly committee with 165 in favour.

Cary Alan Johnson, executive director of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, had this to say: “This vote is a dangerous and disturbing development. It essentially removes the important recognition of the particular vulnerability faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people — a recognition that is crucial at a time when 76 countries around the world criminalize homosexuality, five consider it a capital crime and countries like Uganda are considering adding the death penalty to their laws criminalizing homosexuality.”

To be honest, I was not surprised that the UN would pass something like this. Caught between appeasing homophobic countries and protecting the rights of a persecuted minority, the UN made the cowardly choice. It is ironic how many countries are willing to vote on such a horrendous amendment in order to keep up diplomatic relationships, while they themselves advocate forward-thinking.

South Africa, for example, voted for the amendment despite their history of persecution under the Apartheid regime. Way to stay proud, South Africa.
Gay Rights activist Peter Tatchell said, accurately so, that the move was a “shameful day in United Nations history.” What is so sickening is that the entire situation reminds me of the crowd that gathers when a high school bully insults his victim. The world is standing by, knowing inside how wrong it really is, in cowardice, because it is “not my problem.”

The UN is slowly becoming a joke when it comes to protecting human rights. As this esteemed organization deteriorates in front of our eyes in stunning hypocrisy, we might as well all climb into our time machines and press the button backwards a hundred years. With the UN supposedly leading the charge for human rights and freedom in this day and age, at this rate, it might be for the best.

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