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At UN, Bid to Strip Sexual Orientation Also Targeted Foreign Occupation, Lost 53-82

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 19 -- At the UN when the terms “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” come up, the culture wars begin. But in the November 19 votes on a resolution on “Extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions,” it was a culture-war double-whammy.

  Egypt on behalf of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation put forward an amendment which would have stripped out the paragraph, OP 6(b), which included killings “persons... because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

  But also in the paragraph to be stripped was a reference to “persons... living under foreign occupation.” In UN-ese: Palestine.

  Inner City Press was told about this double whammy on November 18, and early on November 19 asked the Permanent Representative of an OIC member country how it would be resolved. The answer was that yes, Palestine was an issue; the prediction was that the conflict would be resolved.

  But it wasn't: during the debate on the OIC amendment, put forward by Egypt, delegates inter-mixed the terms sexual orientation and Palestine, along with the words laundry-list and, in the case of Sudan, International Criminal Court.

 Call it a triple-whammy, then.

  Albania said that would vote against the OIC amendment, citing the killing of gays. When the vote was called the Egyptian / OIC amendment lost, with 53 in favor, 82 against and 24 abstaining.

  A recorded vote was called for on the resolution as a whole, and Finland asked to know who'd asked for it. “Egypt,” came the answer. And while the resolution was adopted with 111 for, one against and 64 abstentions, even that one “no” was called into question when Kiribati belatedly tried to change it to “abstain.”

 The Committee's Secretary, who previously played the same role for the Fifth (Budget) Committee, explained that while the Secretariat “took note” of what Kiribati said, it “will not alter outcome.” So that one “no” stands - stands alone. And the culture wars will continue.


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