On June 17, 2011, the United Nations Human Rights Council declared that all human beings should be protected by universal human rights regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. The declaration stated, "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."
The resolution went on to request a global study to document discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The Human Rights Council will then convene a panel to discuss the study findings and advance a constructive, informed, and transparent dialogue on the issue.
In a press statement, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, "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. 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 United States will continue to stand up for human rights wherever there is inequality and we will seek more commitments from countries to join this important resolution."
The declaration was presented by South African and adopted with the support of 23 countries, 19 countries opposed, 3 countries abstained, and 1 country was absent for the vote.
PHOTO: United Nations General Assembly, UN Photo/Rick Bajornas
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