U.N. Touts Gay Rights

The U.N.'s Human Rights Council condemns discrimination and violence against LGBT people

A view of the press officers’ area during the 17th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland (courtesy of U.N.)

For the first time, the United Nations’ Human Rights Council has issued a statement condemning discrimination and violence toward LGBT around the world. A new resolution was passed this week in Geneva that not only acknowledges “acts of violence and discrimination, in all regions of the world, committed against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity,” but also calls for leaders to protect citizens.

The resolution also asks for a study on the treatment of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people by the Human Rights Council in the next year, after being introduced by South Africa. In Zambia, for instance, LGBT people can be imprisoned for up to a decade for what’s described as “unnatural sexual acts,” while in the Middle East, people have been publicly executed after being accused of being homosexual.

The Council is made up of 47 different states responsible for protecting human rights internationally.