The French government says that it will call on the United Nations for the universal decriminalisation of homosexuality.

The country’s Junior Human Rights Minister, Rama Yade, told delegates at a UNESCO conference in Paris that she will be submitting a draft declaration to the UN calling for the decriminalisation of homosexuality around the world.

The declaration is expected to be submitted to the UN General Assembly in December. Britain is also said to support the declaration.

The move comes on the heels of newspaper reports that French police have been spying on LGBT and HIV/AIDS activist groups which are expected to stage protests during the upcoming visit by Pope Benedict XVI to France this month.

Yade also committed the EU to work towards equality for women across the globe, specifically targeting violence against women. France is currently holding the six-month rotating EU presidency.

According to ILGA, the International Lesbian and Gay Association, gays and lesbians face imprisonment in 76 countries and the death penalty in seven.

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