030_Global12_InSight_GayRights_V4

Global issue 12

Global InsightLGBT Rights Two steps forward, one step back Two resolutions adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council during the past 16 months represent potential advances and setbacks for the global lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights movement. One is concerned with defending sexual orientation and gender identity; the other with protecting traditional values. Together they represent divergent views on the universality and indivisibility of human rights Graeme Reid Credit: UN Photo/Violaine Martin Delegates at the UN Human Rights Council’s panel discussion on discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity O wide, adopted a landmark resolution introduced by South dichotomy between the ‘liberal West’ and ‘conservative rest’.movement, and demonstrate how the discussion on sexuality andgender identity has shifted to the global South, shattering the false-n 17 June 2011, the Human Rights Council, the bodymandated to protect and promote human rights world Africa on “human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity”. Globalisation has had paradoxical effects for LGBT rights – on The resolution was adopted 23 to 19, with 3 abstentions. This sim- the one hand it has facilitated the movement, and on the other it ple one-page document requested the UN High Commissioner to has provoked a backlash. New possibilities for communication prepare a report in December 2011 and convene a panel in March and connectivity have given impetus to international solidarity. 2012 to discuss the findings and suggest appropriate follow-up ac- Electronic communication has provided a vital tool for organisa- tion. Although on the surface these are modest recommendations, tions that need to work clandestinely. The Internet in particular has it was a watershed moment. It was the first UN resolution to bring provided an invaluable channel of communication. Yet electronic specific focus to human rights violations based on sexual orienta- communication can also be used as a tool for surveillance and en- tion and gender identity. trapment: a Cameroonian man was sentenced to three years in jail Also in 2011, the General Assembly of the Organization of in 2011 for sending a text message, while police in Kyrgyzstan en- American States adopted a resolution condemning “discrimination trap gay men, subjecting them to blackmail and extortion, by using against persons by reason of their sexual orientation and gender personal dating sites. A series of murders of gay men in and around identity”. These two resolutions represent significant milestones Johannesburg has been attributed to Internet dating sites. for the global lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) The international response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic has led to 30 lwww.global-briefing.org fourth quarter 2012global


Global issue 12
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