13 December 2010


***U.N.**, U.S.** Officials Call for Gay Rights*

*Ban Ki-Moon and Susan Rice Call for End to Laws Around the World That
Criminalize Homosexuality, Marking Human Rights Day*

* (AP) * U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon called for an end to laws around the
world that criminalize homosexuality, stressing the need to pay more
urgent attention to gay and gender identity rights on Friday as the
world marked Human Rights Day.

"Today, many nations have modern constitutions that guarantee essential
rights and liberties. And yet, homosexuality is considered a crime in
more than 70 countries," Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said. "That is
not right."

Ban said the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the U.N.
General Assembly on Dec. 10, 1948, "is not called the 'partial'
declaration of human rights. It is not the 'sometimes' declaration of
human rights. It is the universal declaration, guaranteeing all human
beings their basic human rights - without exception."

The U.N. chief said that during recent trips to Africa he urged leaders
to do away with laws criminalizing homosexuality, and that in Malawi he
was able to help secure the release of a young gay couple sentenced to
14 years in prison.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu also spoke by teleconference to the high-level
gathering organized at U.N. headquarters by advocates for lesbian, gay,
bisexual and transgender people, comparing their struggle to the fight
for an end to apartheid in his native South Africa.

U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice echoed Ban's remarks, and said that the
United Nations must send a strong message that people should not be
tortured and killed because they are gay.

Rice said she was "incensed" by a recent vote in a General Assembly
committee that left out any mention of sexual orientation from a
resolution condemning the extrajudicial killing of vulnerable people
worldwide. Previous resolutions had included the mention.

The American ambassador said that the United States will sponsor a U.N.
amendment to restore the reference to killings based on sexual
orientation. "We're going to stand firm on this basic principle," she said.

Rights groups welcomed Rice's announcement, and called on all U.N.
member states to support the amendment.

"Words do have a meaning at the U.N.," said Boris Dittrich of Human
Rights Watch. "Reintroducing the reference to sexual orientation in the
resolution could help put an end to the hateful killing of people based
on their sexual orientation or gender identity."

Rice also said that she, like President Obama, "was extremely
disappointed" on Thursday when Senate Republicans failed to repeal the
U.S. military's 17-year-old ban on openly gay military troops.

The Senate's 57-40 test vote fell three votes short of the 60 needed to
advance. Included in a broader defense policy bill, the measure to
eliminate the so-called "don't ask, don't tell policy" passed the House
last spring.

"That law violates fundamental American principles of fairness,
integrity, and equality," said Rice. "We only weaken our national
security and diminish our military readiness by depriving ourselves of
the service of patriots determined to defend the country they love."

"Today as we celebrate the birthday of the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights, we must recall that its drafters insisted that it be truly
universal," said Rice. "We must all do our part, here at the United
Nations and in our own countries, to ensure that no gay man need fear
persecution, that no lesbian need fear discrimination, and that no
transgender person need fear assault."

----- Fin del Mensaje reenviado -----

Gloria Careaga
Facultad de Psicologia, UNAM

Nobody is safe until everybody is safe.
Nadie esta a salvo hasta que todos lo estemos.

UNAMonos Comunic√°ndonos


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