The UN Human Rights Council in Geneva
There is concern over the passing of a UN resolution backing “traditional values” that could be used against efforts to advance LGBT rights.
The resolution, titled “promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms through a better understanding of traditional values of humankind,” was introduced by Russia at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
The resolution highlights “the important role of the family” and states that “traditional values… can be practically applied in the promotion and protection of human rights and upholding human dignity, in particular in the process of human rights education”.
Gay Star News reported that references to sexual orientation and gender identity were removed from the resolution’s definition of human rights.
Activists fear that the resolution will bolster countries in Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere that justify the persecution of LGBTI people on the basis that homosexuality is not part of their traditional values or culture.
The resolution was passed on Thursday with 25 countries for it, 15 against and seven abstaining. South Africa did not take part in the vote or the debate.
Speaking in the council, Norway warned that the resolution failed to recognise “that so-called traditional values could also be used to justify human rights violations and abuses”.
The United States also opposed the resolution, and said that it “could have negative effects on the rights of women, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons, and other minority groups.” It also argued that there is no internationally agreed definition on the meaning of traditional values.
Speaking with Gay Star News, Russian LGBT rights activist Nikolai Alexeyev said that “resolution is a disgrace and dangerous”.
He explained that “Such concepts of ‘traditional values’ are exactly what is used in Russian courts against gay rights and applied nationally… This resolution gives the opportunity to every country to (mis)interpret human rights in the way it chooses to. It undermines the universal nature of human rights.”