South Africa has shamefully chosen to support the dropping of gay rights from a UN conference on racism and xenophobia.
The move came at the Durban Review Conference which has been taking place in Geneva, Switzerland.
It aims to finalise a draft document for the full conference, dubbed Durban II, that is set to take place in April in the European city.
The last such conference on racism and xenophobia took place in Durban in 2001.
The draft document had included a condemnation of “all forms of discrimination and all other human rights violations based on sexual orientation”.
However, due to a lack of support from mainly non-Western countries, this was removed from the draft. South Africa, representing other African nations, was one of the countries that chose to vote against the sexual orientation clause.
According to UN Watch, South Africa, a key organiser of the Durban II conference, said: “Sexual orientation and discrimination… we feel it goes beyond the framework of the (2001) Durban Declaration.”
South Africa has been slammed for repeatedly not supporting human rights causes internationally. In December last year South Africa, along with the US, chose to not sign on to a symbolic UN declaration which called for the decriminalisation of homosexuality.
In a reversal of its position last year, the US, now under the Obama administration, gave its support to the inclusion of sexual orientation at Durban II.
Other countries that voted to remove the line from the draft document included China, Egypt, Nigeria, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Botswana, Iran, Algeria, and Syria. The move was also supported by the Vatican.