The United Nations Human Rights Council has passed a historic resolution on human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity by a vote of 23 to 19 with three abstentions, in Geneva yesterday.
China was one of three council members to abstain on the vote together with Burkina Faso and Zambia. The abstention is in itself historic in its departure from China’s usual voting behaviour on LGBT-related resolutions.
In all previous similar votes on resolutions related to sexual orientation, China had consistently taken the anti-equality position. Last July, China voted against granting “consultative status” to the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC). Later, in December, China voted against a move to reinsert ‘sexual orientation’ into a resolution condemning extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions.
Three Asian nations that joined European Union members, the United States and much of Latin America in supporting the resolution are Japan, South Korea and Thailand. Russia joined African and Islamic states in voting against the resolution, including Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Uganda, Mauritania, Senegal and Bangladesh.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hailed the passing of the resolution as a “historic moment”.
“All over the world, people face human rights abuses and violations because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, including torture, rape, criminal sanctions, and killing,” said Clinton in a statement issued in Washington. “Today’s landmark resolution affirms that human rights are universal. People cannot be excluded from protection simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
The resolution is attached after the jump…