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UN votes against gay execution
From News Releases, posted Dec. 21, 2010
2010-12-22

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Statement by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on UN General Assembly Action on Sexual Orientation

I am pleased by the UN General Assembly's action today to include sexual orientation in a resolution condemning extrajudicial and summary executions. The United States introduced this language to send an unequivocal message in concert with our many international partners: No one should be killed for who they are.

Sadly, many people around the world continue to be targeted and killed because of their sexual orientation. These heinous crimes must be condemned and investigated wherever they occur. We look forward to continuing our work with others around the world to protect the human rights of those facing threats or discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Statement by Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, After Adoption by the General Assembly of a US-led Amendment to the Resolution on Extrajudicial, Summary, and Arbitrary Executions, December 21, 2010

Today, the United Nations General Assembly has sent a clear and resounding message that justice and human rights apply to all individuals regardless of their sexual orientation.

Several weeks ago, on November 16, the General Assembly's Third Committee voted by a narrow margin to eliminate any mention of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals from a resolution condemning extrajudicial killing of vulnerable people around the world. The United States fought hard for that reference when it came to a Committee vote, and we lost. As I have said before, I was incensed by that vote.

In the weeks following that setback, the United States was proud to introduce an amendment to restore this critical language to the biennial resolution on Extrajudicial, Summary, and Arbitrary Execution before it came for a final vote of the full UN General Assembly. On December 10, at an event marking Human Rights Day, I announced our effort and said, "We're going to stand firm on this basic principle, and we intend to win."

The U.S built a broad coalition of partners and together we galvanized member states to support this effort — and to win.

Today, the General Assembly voted by a significant margin, 93 to 55, to approve the U.S.-led amendment and condemn the extrajudicial killing of people around the world due to their sexual orientation.

The voices of civil society and human rights defenders around the world have been heard today, and for that my delegation is especially proud. Less than two weeks after we celebrated the 62nd anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, today's vote ensures that the principles enshrined in that Declaration are put into practice — and indeed live on — in the 21st Century.

Statement by the White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs on Adoption of U.S. Sponsored Amendment to Ensure Gays and Lesbians Are Covered By UN Resolution on Extrajudicial Execution

President Obama applauds those countries that supported the amendment offered by the United States to ensure that "sexual orientation" remains covered by the United Nations resolution on extrajudicial, summary, and arbitrary execution. Killing people because of their sexual orientation cannot be rationalized by diverse religious values or varying regional perspectives. Killing people because they are gay is not culturally defensible — it is criminal.

While today's adoption of an inclusive resolution is important, so too are the conversations that have now begun in capitals around the world about inclusion, equality, and discrimination. Protecting gays and lesbians from state-sponsored discrimination is not a special right, it is a human right. Today's vote in the United Nations marks an important moment in the struggle for civil and human rights. The time has come for all nations to redouble our efforts to end discrimination and violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.


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