Explanation of Vote: L27/ Rev 1 – Resolution on Human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity
Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America
As Delivered by Ambassador Keith Harper
U.S. Representative to the Human Rights Council
UN Human Rights Council – 27th Session
September 26, 2014
Thank you Mr. President.
As a strong proponent of the rights of all persons and an advocate for anti-discrimination, the United States is pleased to be among the strong supporters of this resolution protecting LGBT persons.
We appreciate the leadership shown by the core group of Chile, Colombia, Uruguay and Brazil and the support of all Council members and observer delegations who cosponsored this resolution.
The Council’s decision today to again reaffirm the Council’s grave concern about acts of violence and discrimination against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender orientation is an historic step in improving human rights protections for all.
President Obama said recently that the story of America’s LGBT community is “the story of our fathers and sons, our mothers and daughters, and our friends and neighbors who continue the task of making our country a more perfect Union. It is a story about the struggle to realize the great American promise that all people can live with dignity and fairness under the law.”
We are pleased to see that today the international community is visibly and publicly upholding the rights of LGBT individuals, and thereby we demonstrate ourselves as a global community respecting the rights of all.
We appreciate that today’s vote is not an easy one for many states and that the issues we face today are the subject of controversy and also rapid change in many member states – including my own.
But just as some, at one point in history, claimed that cultural reasons justified slavery and discrimination and apartheid, we stand firmly for the idea that human rights are universal. Cultural or regional differences simply cannot justify discrimination. It cannot excuse violence in any way, in any place, or against any person.
We appreciate that the Council’s decision will allow for a report by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. This report should help to guide us in the future as states continue to address difficult and challenging issues related to the rights of LGBT persons.
So while the vote today was difficult for many, I am confident that the issues will become easier and easier for the Council to address with over time. I am also confident that, as an international community and as a Council, we can find ways to work together to combat all types of violence and discrimination. I look forward to the day when a future resolution on this topic that will be able to pass this Council by consensus.
Thank you, Mr. President.