The presentation of a declaration calling for the worldwide decriminalisation of homosexuality is now expected to take place in the United Nations General Assembly between 15 and 20 December – not on 10 December as previously reported.

“This means there is still time to lobby governments to sign up and support it,” said British human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.

It remains unclear if South Africa will support the declaration and attempts by Mambaonline.com to establish this through the Department of Foreign Affairs were unsuccessful at the time of publication.

Although not binding on the member states, the declaration of principle will have symbolic value, given the six decades in which homophobic persecution has been largely ignored by the UN General Assembly.

It will be the first time in its history that the Assembly has had before it a declaration in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) human rights.

The declaration will be tabled with the backing of all 27 member states of the European Union. South Africa and the US are among the many countries that have so far not indicated their backing.

Homosexuality is illegal in 86 countries around the world. Lesbians and gays face the death penalty in at least seven nations.

To lobby for South Africa’s support for the declaration e-mail the Minister of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, at minister@foreign.gov.za and parl@foreign.gov.za or the spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs, Ronnie Mamoepa at mamoepar@foreign.gov.za.

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