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Gays able to be executed without cause
November 28, 2010 9:15 PM   Subscribe

On 16 November 2010, the UN General Assembly Third Committee removed a reference to sexual orientation from a resolution on extra-judicial, summary or arbitrary executions, a move condemned by gay and lesbian rights groups.

Here's what the US Adviser said.

Those countries in favour (79):

Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belize, Benin, Botswana, Brunei Dar-Sala, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, China, Comoros, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Those against (70):

Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bhutan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Micronesia (FS), Monaco, Montenegro, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela.

Abstain (17):

Antigua-Barbuda, Barbados, Belarus, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Colombia, Fiji, Mauritius, Mongolia, Papau New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Vanuatu

Absent (26):

Albania, Bolivia, Central African Republic, Chad, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Marshall Island, Mauritania, Nauru, Nicaragua, Palau, Sao Tome Principe, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Togo, Tonga, Turkey, Turkmenistan.
posted by wilful (24 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Perhaps you dislike gays. Perhaps in your country homosexuality is considered an abomination and is prohibited by criminal laws. Perhaps being gay even carries the death penalty where you live. But even if all of that is true, why would you be in favor of extra-judicial executions of anyone?

Most of the countries on that "pro" list are, alas, not much of a surprise. It still saddens me that anti-gay sentiments are still so powerful in the Caribbean. I don't understand the Thai, Mongolian, and Cambodian abstentions.
posted by 1adam12 at 9:24 PM on November 28, 2010


The US Adviser's explanation says that US abstained from the vote ("Although we abstained on the adoption of this resolution today").

But the United States is listed under "Those against". Am I missing something?
posted by vidur at 9:28 PM on November 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm curious about South Africa's position. It seems LGBT rights there are quite advanced now, but they still voted in favor of this.
posted by lullaby at 9:36 PM on November 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


The US Adviser's explanation says that US abstained from the vote ("Although we abstained on the adoption of this resolution today").

But the United States is listed under "Those against". Am I missing something?


The US voted against the amendment that removed LGBT protections from the overall resolution. They then abstained from the vote on the overall resolution.
posted by kmz at 9:38 PM on November 28, 2010


Surely there must be a misunderstanding here. Didn't Mefi tell us that Cuba was a new paradise for LGBT community and that Castro was personally offering to immolate himself in order for their benefit?

How could the country of such a new soul vote in support of this resolution?
posted by oddman at 9:40 PM on November 28, 2010


Well, this is just great.
posted by rtha at 9:47 PM on November 28, 2010


It strikes me how concentrated geographically allies on this subject are. The only vote 'for' in the middle east seems to be Israel (which all can perhaps agree is not a typical middle eastern country).

Against: Europe, most of the western hemisphere (Belize, Cuba, WTF?)

In favor: Middle east, southern Asia, much of Africa.

That's just at a glance though... For some reason this vote seems very telling (and perhaps should help impact some people's travel plans).
posted by el io at 9:48 PM on November 28, 2010


Well at least the US client states (Afghanistan, Iraq) are showing their independence!
posted by wilful at 9:50 PM on November 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


> The US voted against the amendment that removed LGBT protections from the overall resolution. They then abstained from the vote on the overall resolution.

Thanks, kmz.

South Asia Breakdown: India, Nepal, Bhutan (Against) and Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Maldives, Myanmar (For). I can't imagine why Sri Lanka abstained. Still, not exactly a case of South Asia voting "for".
posted by vidur at 9:56 PM on November 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't know whether to be ashamed that my country (Trinidad and Tobago) abstained, or heartened that we weren't "for". The Caribbean is still a shockingly homophobic place, but a lot of us understand how wrong this kind of thing is, and well, we're really trying.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 10:00 PM on November 28, 2010


The US abstains on the resolution, but is against the amendment that removes the clause referencing sexual orientation.

But both the main links wildly overstate impact, and are willfully blind to the context of the UN (no pun on the poster intended).

The UN did not vote to kill gays, as alleged by the first link, and to summarize the issue as "the UN allowed gay people to be executed without cause" is flat bullshit.

What happened is that there's a resolution every year or so from the UN General Assembly Third Committee, which requires a majority of votes to carry, on "extrajudicial killings," and how everyone in the world is against them, especially in discriminatory cases.

The only binding effect that the resolution has is that if as a country you vote to pass it, you then look vaguely unreliable when you don't act in accordance with its edicts (at which point everyone in the world says, "You too! You too! You also act shitty to others! All crimes are equally bad!"). This isn't even related to the fact-finding reporters that the UN Third Committee can assign, which is where the real sparks fly in UN documents.

I will say how it's endlessly entertaining to see liberals attack the United States for presuming to dictate moral stances to the world, then get all bent out of shape when the US is unable to.

But even if you accept the premise that this proposition or resolution is of vital, actual importance to how governance functions, not just on an incredibly abstract level, but that this will really, practically mean that governments will abide by this non-binding resolution from the General Assembly, the amendment still doesn't do what you say it does: it does not allow killing gay people, it just does not "urge" all states to specifically protect sexual orientation. It's similar to saying that because MeFi doesn't have a flag option for "homophobic" under the "offensive/sexism/racism" that homophobia is tolerated. Not just tolerated, even, according to the rhetoric of the links — encouraged! You might as well say MeFi encourages homophobia that way too!

So both main links rely on a rhetorical technique that doesn't just mischaracterize the UN resolution, but also the symbolic effect of a shift within the resolution. And I fear that most people won't read the actual resolution (which, in the version linked, still has the "sexual orientation" clause), in part because the UN makes it really hard to get to their documents (here's a search for the title).

And that's all without going into that the reasons for resolutions, amendments and voting in Third Committee stuff is really to provide rhetorical cover to trade delegation horse-swapping — The US wasn't going to support this resolution because the fact-finding that came with it focuses on extra-judicial killings performed by drones and concludes that we need more restraints on it, and does contain a lot of back and forth about what laws what acts fall under. It's entirely possible that the current state department wanted the resolution passed but couldn't support it, and that the homophobic amendment was a way to whip votes.
posted by klangklangston at 10:17 PM on November 28, 2010 [25 favorites]


Sorry, I was a total UN nerd and this shit just pisses me off.
posted by klangklangston at 10:19 PM on November 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


The UN did not vote to kill gays

They just voted to look the other way while countries execute on the basis of orientation.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:41 PM on November 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


klangklangston, thank you for explaining the situation. A UN nerd is what was needed here. I had heard one thing or another, and now I understand it a bit better.
posted by mephron at 11:16 PM on November 28, 2010


"They just voted to look the other way while countries execute on the basis of orientation."

Well, no. They voted to remove "sexual orientation" from a set of crimes that they're emphasizing. They no more voted to look the other way on executions based on orientation than they voted to look the other way on drone attacks.

But here's a simple bit of logic that both authors linked managed to simultaneously headbutt to death: Not enacting a positive does not mean affirming the negative.

And further, we've had this resolution in nearly the same form passed for the last ten years. How many executions in Iran has it stopped? None. So far, it's less effective than my alligator-repellant shoes.

This is just totally bullshit hyperbole loaded onto a contentious issue by a bunch of bloggers pulling inflammatory quotes from issue-advocate activists. It's annoying because there could be a real conversation here, but as soon as you start yelling shit like UN VOTES TO KILL GAYS, you should be really sure that's what your links actually say, instead of some ginned-up jibber-jabber run through the blogosphere telephone. Otherwise, there's no conversation, and the transparent attempt to hijack with inflammatory rhetoric alienates allies rather than bringing anyone over to your side.

Frankly, Will and Grace did more harm to gays and lesbians worldwide than removing this clause from a non-binding, intentionally broad and ambiguous statement exhorting governments to not tolerate non-governmental killings, especially in a handful of cases.

This will have absolutely no local effect on any government in the world — the homophobic ones weren't going to suddenly become less homophobic with the inclusion of this clause — and won't even affect the budgetary priorities of the UN (which is one of the places to be wary with committee resolutions, but doesn't matter in this case).
posted by klangklangston at 11:46 PM on November 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


klangklangston, I understand your rage, but surely you can understand that this is different from "UN once again fails to pass pro-equality motion" or whatever. The wording WAS there, but the UN as a body voted to actively remove it. That's a real kick in the face, much worse than passive acceptance of an unequal status quo (which at least can be explained by inertia). I get the "it doesn't really matter" thing, but when some dude is using the UN as a forum to actively reclaim the right to kill you for being gay, even if only rhetorically, anger is the appropriate response. It's ominous. It might not be affirming the positive, but it's a step back that the UN deserves condemnation for, if only to avoid signaling acceptance via silence.

To extend your MeFi analogy, if it had been possible to flag posts as "homophobic" and then that option was removed (just removed, not merged with sexism etc. under a general "intolerance" category or whatever), I think there would be a lot of W.T.F.M?ing in MetaTalk even if cortex recorded a special song explaining that the change wouldn't affect actual policy because they don't even read the flag categories anyway.
posted by No-sword at 12:58 AM on November 29, 2010 [6 favorites]


They just voted to look the other way while countries execute on the basis of orientation.

The resolution only applies to extra-judicial executions in any case, even with the excised sections that is all it would have applied to.

It also doesn't make sense to talk of what the general assembly or committees do and then say "The UN" did this or that. The various committees are made up of government representatives, if you want to talk about "The UN" as an organisation then you're talking about the secretariat and the various agencies.
posted by atrazine at 1:41 AM on November 29, 2010


They should have more of these kinds of resolutions.

The result was a near-perfect split between loser countries, winner countries, and nobody-really-notices-or-gives-a-flying-fuck-about-you countries.

Just a few more resolutions & we'll get everything perfectly categorised.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:25 AM on November 29, 2010


It strikes me how concentrated geographically allies on this subject are.

It struck me, too. My take:

Voting against:

First World (US/Canada/Japan/S Korea/W Europe/Israel)
Eastern Europe including Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Baltic states
Latin America
India

Voting for:

Officially Islamic and Islamic-majority countries
Africa, including South Africa
Much of the Caribbean
Russia
China
Communist and "Nominally Communist" countries: Cuba, N Korea, Vietnam, etc.

Absent/Abstain shows less of a pattern, but does appear to be heavier in Asia/Pacific countries.
posted by gimonca at 6:25 AM on November 29, 2010


Aust/NZ voting against, a couple of other tiny outliers (Micronesia, Timor), but otherwise, no SE Asia or Pacific votes against. Nepal/Bhutan may have followed India's lead.
posted by gimonca at 6:35 AM on November 29, 2010


Nepal/Bhutan may have followed India's lead.

Nepal is actually on the vanguard w/r/t gay-rights issues in the region.
posted by kittyprecious at 7:15 AM on November 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


The US wasn't going to support this resolution because the fact-finding that came with it focuses on extra-judicial killings performed by drones and concludes that we need more restraints on it...

The administration cares more about continuing its drone bombing than human rights for gays, you say?
posted by Joe Beese at 8:43 AM on November 29, 2010


gimonca: "Absent/Abstain shows less of a pattern, but does appear to be heavier in Asia/Pacific countries."

"Absent" is heabvily biased towards small-ish, poor countries. These are nations that largely cannot afford to send representatives to UN meetings.
posted by brokkr at 9:30 AM on November 29, 2010


The administration cares more about continuing its drone bombing than human rights for gays, you say?

The US voted against removing the language about homosexuality. The language was removed anyway. Regardless of how the US voted on the resultant resolution, it would have 0 effect on human rights for gays. So this time the US got to have its cake and eat it too: voted for gay rights, abstained from voting against drones. Win/win! (if you're a gay drone)
posted by wildcrdj at 1:34 PM on November 29, 2010


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