Advocates Applaud UN Report; LA City Council Denounces Nigeria
The human rights group AllOut.org and African human rights activists applauded the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) for releasing on Thursday what ALLOut says is "the first-ever U.N. report documenting discriminatory laws, practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. The report gives a sweeping panorama of the status of LGBT rights around the world, and includes an ambitious set of recommendations for U.N. member states to implement." (Download the full report here [pdf]) "Today the United Nations has sent a powerful message to member states around the world, echoing what Hillary Clinton said last week: Gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights," said AllOut.org co-founder Andre Banks. "This groundbreaking report adds major momentum to the work that LGBT equality advocates are doing worldwide. We applaud the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the South African government in particular, for their courage and commitment to this historic civil and human rights struggle." Meanwhile in Los Angeles, openly gay LA City Councilmember Bill Rosendahl pointed out the City Council's unanimous vote on Tuesday, Dec. 13, to put the City of Los Angeles on record denouncing the persecution of gays who want to marry in the Republic of Nigeria. LA City Councilmember Bill Rosendahl (District 11) (Photo courtesy Bill Rosendahl)
The vote on Rosendahl's resolution calling for support for LGBT human rights was in response to the Nigerian Senate passage two weeks ago of an antigay marriage bill that would make same sex unions a criminal offense: gay couples who marry in Nigeria could face from 10-14 years in prison. Additionally, the new law would outlaw gay advocacy groups and any public display of same sex affection. "This Nigerian bill is more than an attempt to deny gay marriages," Rosendahl said in a press release. "It sets the stage for the state-sponsored persecution of homosexuality. It labels them criminals and threatens their supporters with jail time." LGBT leaders Ally Bolour, former board member of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, Steve Simon, AIDS Coordinator for the City of Los Angeles, and Eileen Ma, Executive Director of the Asian Pacific Islander Equality Los Angeles joined Rosendahl in advocating for the resolution. "This resolution does matter," said Bolour. "It provides a glimmer of hope for people over there that somebody else cares about them, knows about them, and does something about them." "The United States taxpayer has paid over $2 million over the last seven years to support HIV prevention treatment and care in Nigeria," said Simon who continued to say we have an invested interest in the Nigerian law. "If this law passes, it will damage our efforts internationally and this will trickle down and affect us." "This puts the City of Los Angeles on the right side of history," said Ma. "This is an important step to show that we have an important role to play in this Country to support human and LGBT rights in other Countries.
LA City Councilmember Bill Rosendahl (second from left) with Steve Simon, Eileen Ma and Ally Bolour (Photo courtesty Bill Rosendahl's office) (Crossposted at LGBT POV)