Albania, Egypt, Finland, Kenya, Kiribati, Turkey
, Pacific

UN General Assembly: Rights groups welcome condemnation of killing of LGBT persons

Human rights organisations today celebrated growing support for the recognition that governments must investigate and prosecute those responsible for extrajudicial, summary, and arbitrary executions, no matter what group is a target.

(New York) – Human rights organisations today celebrated growing support for the recognition that governments must investigate and prosecute those responsible for extrajudicial, summary, and arbitrary executions, no matter what group is a target.

The UN General Assembly’s Third Committee adopted resolution A/C.3/69/L.47 by a wide margin, which is introduced biennially and urges States to protect the right to life of all people. Significantly, the resolution calls upon States to investigate killings based on discriminatory grounds, including killings that target people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, their race, their immigration status and other aspects of identity, such as migrant status.

The resolution was introduced by the government of Finland and co-sponsored by 62 additional states, compared to 35 states the last time it was approved in 2012. The support came after a concerted effort by non-governmental organisations to ensure the successful adoption of the resolution, culminating in a joint letter by 30 NGOs to all States.

‘It is wonderful to see growing support for the protection of the right to life for all human beings. In particular, the support for this resolution builds on the success of the recent Human Rights Council resolution in September 2014, recognizing that combatting violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is a priority for the UN,’ said Kim Vance, Co-Director, ARC International.

The resolution urges protection from extrajudicial, arbitrary, and summary executions, in particular for groups that have been highlighted in reports from the UN expert on these issues as particularly at risk for such violence (the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Arbitrary, and Summary Executions).

For the past 14 years, the resolution has urged States ‘to investigate promptly and thoroughly all killings, including… all killings committed for any discriminatory reason, including sexual orientation.’ In 2012, the term ‘gender identity’ was added to the list of categories vulnerable to extrajudicial killings. It is the only resolution at the General Assembly to make specific reference to sexual orientation and gender identity.

‘Today’s vote is another sign of growing acceptance by governments that they must uphold basic human rights for all – and that means no one is excluded because of who they are, whether involving sexual orientation and gender identity or race or any other identity. In particular, when it comes to the worst atrocities, governments must investigate and promptly prosecute those responsible. It is simply unacceptable that any government would countenance violence against people based on who they are or who they love. It’s time that all governments accept the basic universality and promise of human rights for everyone,’ said Jessica Stern, executive director, International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission.

The resolution was adopted 111-1 with 63 abstentions. After the vote, Kiribati, the one dissenting voice, declared their intention to change their ‘no’ vote to abstention, and Kenya, whose representative had been absent during the vote, declared their intention to abstain.

‘All human beings have the right to life, regardless of who they are, and this includes their sexual orientation or gender identity. This vote shows that more and more states accept the basic and inalienable principle that all human beings have dignity and rights,’ said Ruth Baldaccinho, co-secretary general, International Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA).

Egypt led an effort to weaken the resolution by introducing an amendment that would have removed reference to any of the groups particularly at risk of extrajudicial killings, including migrants, human rights defenders, street children, people under foreign occupation, and those targeted because of their race, sexual orientation, or gender identity. The amendment was defeated by a vote of 86 against, 53 in favor, and 24 abstaining. The amendment was nominally presented on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), though both Albania and Turkey, members of the OIC, voted against the amendment. Albania is also a cosponsor of the resolution.

‘All the groups listed in the resolution face particular threats of extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary execution and for that reason they are specifically highlighted for attention. It is highly regrettable that some States were willing to pursue a tactic of excluding some groups for particular attention by excluding the whole list. It is essential that GA Member States are steadfast in their commitment that everyone, without discrimination, is protected from extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary execution,’ said Eleanor Openshaw of the International Service for Human Rights.

Related articles

ACHPR 69: Periodic Review of the Republic of Namibia

Despite Namibia taking several progressive measures to promote and protect human rights, the country continues to enforce repressive laws that infringe on the rights of the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender (LGBT) community, commercial sex workers and other vulnerable groups.

LGBTIQ: 3rd Committee of GA adopts resolution on free and fair elections that makes it the second-ever resolution to mention ‘sexual orientation and gender identity’

During its 76th session and in a move welcomed by civil-society, the Third Committee of the GA adopted by consensus a resolution recognising the rights of all people to participate in elections and public affairs, without discrimination, including on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

HRC48 | SOGIESC developments at the Human Rights Council

During the 48th session of the Human Rights Council, civil society expressed concern and condemnation about an anti LGBTI bill in Ghana, while the second joint government statement on the rights of intersex persons was delivered on behalf of 52 States​​.

Elections | Human Rights Council Pledging Event 2021

This week in an online event, 10 candidate States publicly spoke to an audience of around 200 people on their pledges as incoming Human Rights Council members for 2022 – 2024. They also faced questions on pressing human rights issues from both States and civil society organisations.

LGBTI | Ten years since the first SOGI resolution, LGBTI history continues to be made at the United Nations

10 years after the first SOGI resolution was passed at the Council, 27 States launch the Group of Friends of the mandate of the UN Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Tess McEvoy from ISHR and Gabriel Galil from ILGA World tell the story.

Annual Report | Supporting humanity's essential workers

It's difficult to encapsulate such a complex year in a word, but "interconnected" is one that comes to mind when reflecting on 2020. We are proud to have remained deeply interconnected with defenders and to have supported, protected and amplified their work at the national, regional and international levels. With them, the "essential workers" of our times, we strive for a 2021 full of freedom, equality, dignity and justice.

Egypt | Stop prosecuting and harassing LGBTIQ+ individuals and organisations

In a context where Egyptian police routinely prosecute and arrest LGBTIQ+ people by using fabricated charges such as “immorality”, “incitement to immorality”, “misuse of social media” and “belonging to terrorist groups”, ISHR joined human rights organisations in calling on the Egyptian government to immediately stop arresting or detaining individuals based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. No one should face discrimination, intimidation or imprisonment because of their sexual orientation or gender identity; and to ensure a safe and enabling environment for civil society organisations to work freely to serve this community.

Stay in the loop!

Would you like to be informed of future events, news, updates on our work, invitations and appeals? Please enter your email address below!