Caribbean News Now
The Bahamas supports the United Nations Human Rights Council resolution passed last week that affirms equal rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) people, said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Brent Symonette.
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Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Brent Symonette. The resolution, which narrowly passed in the council in Geneva, Switzerland, expressed “grave concern” about discrimination against gays throughout the world and affirmed that freedom to choose sexuality is a human right.
The Bahamas does not have a seat on the council, but is in favour of the resolution in principle, Symonette said.
He noted that he had not seen the resolution, but said the government supports the expansion of rights for “people of any persuasion.”
“Our record is clear, we continue to support freedom of expression and the right for people to express their opinions,” Symonette said.
“We actually voted in expansion of the rights [of GLBT people in a UN General Assembly vote earlier this year].”
The resolution passed in the human rights council also asked the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to conduct a study by the end of the year that would point out “discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity in all regions of the world.”
Twenty-three countries on the human rights council supported the resolution, 19 voted against it and three countries abstained.
The resolution was the first of its kind passed by the council. It was fiercely opposed by Russia, China, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria, among other countries.
The United States supported the resolution, which also asked that the study be conducted before the end of the year to look at how international laws can “be used to end violence and related human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”
The resolution also said that the council will form a panel once the study is completed to discuss “constructive, informed and transparent dialogue on the issue of discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.”
One month ago, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay equated homophobia and transphobia to misogyny and racism. She also claimed that hate crimes against GLBT people were on the rise.
“States have an obligation to decriminalize homosexuality and to protect individuals from discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation,” she said.