Friday, March 25, 2011

Spurious tactics used in gaining support for statement on sexual orientation?

Further to my report on the statement on sexual orientation and gender identity made at the Human Rights Council in Geneva (see link to my BLOG) it now appears that the United States took a prominent part in the promulgation of the statement. According to a US State Department release (see this link) 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.
According to the website the United States actually co-chaired the core group of countries that worked to submit this statement, along with Colombia and Slovenia.

This statement, according to the website, 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.

The State Department release also says that 20 countries joined this statement that were neither signatory to the 2006 or 2008 statements.

 This statement should also be viewed in the context of an article by Terrence Mc Keegan of C-Fam; US Accused of Falsely Stating Vatican Position to Win Votes for Resolution” The US Department of State according to the Mc Keegan article,

"is telling Latin American delegations to the United Nations that the Vatican has changed its position on a sexual orientation declaration that was just released at the Human Rights Council in Geneva, according to diplomatic sources in New York."

According to these sources, an official in Western Hemisphere Affairs at the US State Department has held a series of meetings with Latin American delegations telling them the Vatican now supports the declaration calling for “sexual orientation and gender identity” to be new categories of non-discrimination in international law. However, a high ranking source at the Holy See says these assertions are false and that the Holy See opposes the declaration being considered in Geneva."

The Holy See objections to the statement were subsequently set out fully by Archbishop Tomasi. The full text of Archbishop Tomasi's statement is available on this link to

The addition of 20 countries to the list of countries supporting the statement must therefore be viewed in the light of the misinformation resulting from these contacts. Even with the addition of these 20 countries however counter statements by the OIC the African Group and the Russian Federation together equal or exceed the number of countries supporting the issue