John M. Becker

BREAKING: UN Human Rights Council Votes for LGBT Rights

Filed By John M. Becker | September 26, 2014 1:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: IGHLRC, International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, UN, UN Human Rights Council, United Nations

un-human-rights-council.jpgToday in Geneva, the United Nations Human Rights Council -- the UN's top human rights watchdog -- approved a resolution condemning and expressing "grave concern" about discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The countries of Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Uruguay reportedly took leading roles in pushing for the resolution's passage.

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission applauded the move in a press release:

"The Human Rights Council has taken a fundamental step forward by reaffirming one of the United Nations' key principles--that everyone is equal in dignity and rights," said Jessica Stern, executive director of IGLHRC. "This resolution puts the UN on a trajectory to address the discrimination and violence LGBT persons suffer daily across the world."

"The council is confirming that LGBT people have universal human rights," said Stern. "We know, of course, that the struggle is long, and that we will need the Council to focus on the violations we suffer for many years to come. But for now, we celebrate that the majority of States stood with us to declare, unequivocally, that human rights are for everyone, everywhere."

Here's the text of the resolution, via ThinkProgress:

Expressing grave concern at acts of violence and discrimination, in all regions of the world, committed against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity,

Welcoming positive developments at the international, regional and national levels in the fight against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity...

The IGLHRC adds that opponents of the resolution tried a variety of different procedural tricks to sabotage the measure, proposing seven amendments "that would have eliminated all reference to sexual orientation and gender identity from the text, and made it applicable only to countries who proactively declare support for sexual diversity and rights." Those amendments all failed.

The resolution passed on a vote of 25-14, with 7 abstentions. The votes largely broke down along geographic and religious lines, with most South American, European, and North American nations voting in favor and most African and Middle Eastern countries -- including U.S. allies like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia -- voting against.

Want to know which countries voted for and against basic LGBT human rights, and which were too spineless to take a stand? The vote breakdown is after the jump.


In Favor





Costa Rica


Czech Republic












Republic of Korea (South Korea)


South Africa

United Kingdom

United States






Cote d'Ivoire









Russian Federation

Saudi Arabia

United Arab Emirates


Burkina Faso






Sierra Leone

UPDATE: Here's the full list of nations that co-sponsored today's LGBT rights resolution, via Human Rights Watch:

Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America, Uruguay.

UPDATE 2: United States National Security Advisor and former United Nations ambassador Susan E. Rice reacts in a statement:

The United States applauds today's adoption by the UN Human Rights Council of a resolution in support of the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons. The second such resolution to be passed by the UN Human Rights Council, today's resolution reiterates that LGBT persons are entitled to the human rights and fundamental freedoms that are the birthright of all humankind, expresses grave concern regarding acts of violence and discrimination against LGBT persons, and requests the preparation of an important new report on preventing such abuses. We thank sponsors Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Uruguay for their leadership, and commend the Council for taking another historic step to reinforce the unassailable principle that LGBT rights are human rights.

Image credits: U.S. State Department, IGLHRC.

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