“I still hear people say that I should not be talking about the rights of lesbian and gay people and I should stick to the issue of racial justice… But I hasten to remind them that Martin Luther King, Jr., said, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere’ … I appeal to everyone who believes in Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream to make room at the table of brotherhood and sisterhood for lesbian and gay people.”
“Gays and lesbians stood up for civil rights in Montgomery, Selma, in Albany, Georgia, and St. Augustine, Florida, and many other campaigns of the Civil Rights Movement. Many of these courageous men and women were fighting for my freedom at a time when they could find few voices for their own, and I salute their contributions.”
“Gay and lesbian people have families, and their families should have legal protection, whether by marriage or civil union. A constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages is a form of gay bashing, and it would do nothing at all to protect traditional marriages.”
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
For Immediate Release March 22, 2011
2011/451Joint Statement on the Rights of LGBT Persons at the Human Rights Council
At the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva 85 countries joined a Joint Statement entitled “Ending Acts of Violence and Related Human Rights Violations Based On Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.” This follows previous statements on the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons issued at the United Nations, including a 2006 statement by 54 countries at the Human Rights Council, and a 2008 statement that has garnered 67 countries’ support at the General Assembly. The United States is amongst the signatory states to both previous efforts. The United States co-chaired the core group of countries that have worked to submit this statement, along with Colombia and Slovenia.
Key facts about the new statement:
A core group of over 30 countries engaged in discussions and sought signatures from other UN member states for the statement. In many places, United States diplomats joined diplomats from other states for these conversations.
This statement adds new references not seen in previous LGBT statements at the UN, including: welcoming attention to LGBT issues as a part of the Universal Periodic Review process, noting the increased attention to LGBT issues in regional human rights fora, encouraging the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to continue addressing LGBT issues, and calls for states to end criminal sanctions based on LGBT status.
20 countries joined this statement that were neither signatory to the 2006 or 2008 statements.
The statement garnered support from every region of the world, including 21 signatories from the Western Hemisphere, 43 from Europe, 5 from Africa, and 16 from the Asia/Pacific region.
The full list of signatories and text of the statement follows:
Joint statement on ending acts of violence and related human rights violations based on sexual orientation & gender identity.
Delivered by Colombia on behalf of: Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, the Central African Republic, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the former-Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Malta, the Marshall Islands, Mexico, Micronesia, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Rwanda, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tuvalu, the United States of America, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Ukraine, Uruguay, Vanuatu, and Venezuela
1. We recall the previous joint statement on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity, presented at the Human Rights Council in 2006;
2. We express concern at continued evidence in every region of acts of violence and related human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity brought to the Council’s attention by Special Procedures since that time, including killings, rape, torture and criminal sanctions;
3. We recall the joint statement in the General Assembly on December 18, 2008 on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity, supported by States from all five regional groups, and encourage States to consider joining the statement;
4. We commend the attention paid to these issues by international human rights mechanisms including relevant Special Procedures and treaty bodies and welcome continued attention to human rights issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity within the context of the Universal Periodic Review. As the United Nations Secretary General reminded us in his address to this Council at its Special Sitting of 25 January 2011, the Universal Declaration guarantees all human beings their basic rights without exception, and when individuals are attacked, abused or imprisoned because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, the international community has an obligation to respond;
5. We welcome the positive developments on these issues in every region in recent years, such as the resolutions on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity adopted by consensus in each of the past three years by the General Assembly of the Organization of American States, the initiative of the Asia-Pacific Forum on National Human Rights Institutions to integrate these issues within the work of national human rights institutions in the region, the recommendations of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, the increasing attention being paid to these issues by the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, and the many positive legislative and policy initiatives adopted by States at the national level in diverse regions;
6. We note that the Human Rights Council must also play its part in accordance with its mandate to “promote universal respect for the protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without discrimination of any kind, and in a fair and equal manner” (GA 60/251, OP 2);
7. We acknowledge that these are sensitive issues for many, including in our own societies. We affirm the importance of respectful dialogue, and trust that there is common ground in our shared recognition that no-one should face stigmatisation, violence or abuse on any ground. In dealing with sensitive issues, the Council must be guided by the principles of universality and non-discrimination;
8. We encourage the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to continue to address human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity and to explore opportunities for outreach and constructive dialogue to enhance understanding and awareness of these issues within a human rights framework;
9. We recognise our broader responsibility to end human rights violations against all those who are marginalised and take this opportunity to renew our commitment to addressing discrimination in all its forms;
10. We call on States to take steps to end acts of violence, criminal sanctions and related human rights violations committed against individuals because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, encourage Special Procedures, treaty bodies and other stakeholders to continue to integrate these issues within their relevant mandates, and urge the Council to address these important human rights issues.
Isn’t that special.
As much as I applaud the fact that many countries where LGBT individuals who have it much worse than we do here and have signed on. How pompous and arrogant can the United States be to blow their own horn on being included and leading the charge when they themselves treat us, LGBT Americans as second class citizens that have even less rights than our brothers and sisters in Canada, The United Kingdom and most other European countries.
The hypocrisy astounds me.
Cpt. Jim Pietrangelo and Lt. Dan Choi pleaded NOT GUILTY today to charges brought against them for handcuffing themselves to The White House Fence yesterday in an act of civil disobedience because of the constant inaction on the White House and Congress on repealing DADT. Pietangelo and Choi’s trial will take place on April 26.
Said Choi after his arraignment:
“There was no freer moment than being in that prison. It was freeing for me, and I thought of all of the other people that were still trapped – that were still handcuffed and fettered in their hearts. And we might have been caged up physically, but the message was very clear to all of the people who think that equality can be purchased with a donation, or with a cocktail party, or with tokens, that are serving in a public role. We are worth more than tokens. We have absolute value. And when the person who is oppressed by his own country wants to find out how to get that dignity back – being chained up and being arrested – that’s how you get your dignity conferred back upon you. And so I think that by actions, my call is to every leader – not just talking gay leaders – I’m talking any leader who believes in America, and the promises of America can be manifest. We’re gonna do it again. And we’re going to keep doing it until the promises are manifest. And we will not stop. This is a very clear message to President Obama and any other leader who supposes to talk for the American promise and the American people. We will not go away.”
AmericaBlog reports that the Human Rights Campaign was “on lockdown” today for fear of sit-ins from protesters, as well they should be.
“Apparently HRC is on lockdown, out of fear that gays civil rights advocate, angry at the organization for providing cover for the President’s and the Congress’s in action on DADT and ENDA, might try to stage a sit-in. I hear that even staff had to use key cards to get into the building, as everything was locked up tight (normally the front door is open). Locking the building down like the gay CTU is certainly one option. Another is simply doing your job. NB “Inaction” is incorrect. The White House is quite literally not interested in doing DADT this year. And HRC is publicly misleading the community about it. That’s why Barney Frank had to come out last Monday and ask the White House, publicly, to say that it wants DADT repealed this year.”
Watch Dan Choi’s Statement below:
There have been rumors and whispering for the past few days about a “secret meeting” of LGBT Activists going on at a retreat in Tennessee. Well Kip Williams who worked on National Equality has posted some information on the happening on his facebook page.
Amazingly in his post Kip says they “had no secrets” but if that’s true then why hasn’t any of the netroot bloggers like Pam’s House Blend, Joe, My, God., or Towlleroad heard anything about this before hand. Also he says they wish they could have invited thousands, but they didn’t and someone did have to sit down and pick and choose who to invite and decide who was more important then whom. That IS NOT radical activism.
Over the last 4 days we gathered at the historic Highlander Center in Tennessee with 45 activists from across the country that are sick of delays, compromises and excuses. Some who joined us have been activists for many years; some are new to the movement—all brought a vast depth of knowledge and a readiness to fight for a more just and equal world for all. Some have worked on national LGBTQ issues, such as ACT-UP, Equality Across America and Join the Impact; some were connected to organizations outside of LGBTQ rights, such as PETA, Presente.org, Unite Here, Colorofchange.org, Greenpeace, etc. In our outreach we purposefully looked for those who were supporting and advocating for LGBTQ working people, communities of color, and trans rights.
We had one thing on our agenda: Discuss ways to build a national network of activists to demand full equality now. We believe that it is time to escalate our demands through coordinated nationwide nonviolent direct action, and we hope to build a broad base of organizers to work with all who struggle for justice and dignity in their lives.
We know that many people across the country feel the same way, and that many have been actively working within their own communities for a long time. The Highlander Center can comfortably accommodate about 35 people, and we broke those limits because we wanted more people to participate in the conversation. We had no secrets, only limited space and resources, and a very short time to organize this retreat. We wish we could have invited thousands.
Now there’s nothing wrong with “radical activist”. Actually I embrace them and Iwish to God that we actually had some REAL ONES right now. But a group of LGBT and LGBT supportive leaders meeting in secret and only inviting who they want to make plans for everyone which will probably get bogged down in various committees and boards and will have to be approved by everyone internally before they can even be done is NOT radical activism, it’s a fucking Prom Committe meeting where only the kewl kids are invited to attend
If they REALLY wanted to do something radical the 45 of them would have met in DC, called news outlets and walked to White House and handcuffed themselves to the fence and demanded Equal Rights.