Daily Archives: 06/21/2011
Whoever started this rumor was lying…or at least very misinformed.
Because General Assembly resolutions really, really are not useful at all.
I am, of course, referring to the general mood of excitement that seems to have taken over the gay community because of the recent United Nations resolution that was passed on Friday (June 17th).
The United Nations is poised to deliver a historic call for gay rights Friday, when it votes on a U.S.-backed resolution that demands equality for people regardless of sexual orientation and orders a global investigation of violence and discrimination against gays.
I’m not saying this resolution is a bad thing, but I do question why people think this is going to change anything in any country?
General Assembly resolutions are neither legally binding to member nations, nor do they 100% agreement from the member nations to pass.
The General Assembly is not a world government – its resolutions are not legally binding upon Member States. However, through its recommendations it can focus world attention on important issues, generate international cooperation and, in some cases, its decisions can lead to legally binding treaties and conventions.
In fact I would go so far as to say that countries sign these resolutions for much the same reason that we buy an expensive, tasteful and basically useless piece of art for our home. It looks pretty and we can show it off to our friends.
So what the gay community needs to realize is that all the usual suspects played their usual hands in this vote and, apparently, more than 50% of the member nations agreed. It was a very slim margin, just so you know.
Following tense negotiations, members of the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council narrowly voted in favour of the declaration put forward by South Africa, with 23 votes in favour and 19 against.
Backers included the United States, the European Union, Brazil and other Latin American countries. Those against included Russia, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Pakistan. China, Burkina Faso and Zambia abstained, Kyrgyzstan didn’t vote and Libya was earlier suspended from the rights body.
Does the list of backers and dissenters really surprise anyone? Alright…maybe the Latin American contingent in support surprised me slightly, but that is merely because I’m not well versed in Latin American politics. I keep up with the Middle East, Europe and North America for the most part.
My point is, does the gay community in America really think this is going to start a worldwide change for gay rights? The countries that backed it would have begun (or already are) making great strides in gay rights and the ones who voted against are still going to keep doing exactly what they’ve been doing for years (In the case of the Islamic countries, this would include stoning homosexuals to death) and the United Nations will continue to shake a finger at them and say “naughty, naughty, you shouldn’t do that.” which they will continue to laugh at, because they know what we keep trying to ignore…the UN is basically useless.
“This represents a historic moment to highlight the human rights abuses and violations that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people face around the world based solely on who they are and whom they love,”
-U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (CTV News)
There are many lovely things about this quote (I’ve said it before, I like Hillary…at least more than I like Obama). For one thing, Hillary doesn’t pretend that this is the end of these abuses and violations, she simply says this highlights those abuses and violations…which it does. It might not change them or end them, but it will bring them to the forefront of the world’s attention, which could be useful.
Another thing I love about this quote? Hillary said it. We couldn’t even get a quote from our president on the topic of a UN resolution that our country supported. That’s a bit sad, but not unexpected. At least not to me, because I suspect that Obama’s tentative and vague support of gay rights and gay marriage will last just about as long as he needs the gay vote and their money to win the 2012 election.