The US And 12 Other Countries Vote Against UN Ban On Death Penalty For Gay People

Photo: Wikimedia

The United States of America and 12 other countries voted against a United Nations resolution to condemn countries who use the death penalty to punish gay or bisexual people.

In Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Yemen, and parts of Nigeria and Somalia, being gay is an offense punishable by death.

But even without the support of the US, the U.N. Human Rights Council measure still passed, with Belgium, Benin, Costa Rica, France, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, and Switzerland championing the vote, and a total of 27 countries voting in favor of the resolution. 

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The Trump administration, which has actively been unraveling LGBT advances in the U.S., does not appear to have explained its vote on the U.S. State Dept. website.

The UN resolution asks countries "that have not yet abolished the death penalty to ensure that it is not imposed as a sanction for specific forms of conduct such as apostasy, blasphemy, adultery and consensual same-sex relations."

The resolution itself does not even condemn the use of the death penalty, but rather requests countries that have yet to ban the death penalty to "ensure that it is not applied on the basis of discriminatory laws or as a result of discriminatory or arbitrary application of the law."

It also urges nations "that have not yet abolished the death penalty to ensure that the death penalty is not applied against persons with mental or intellectual disabilities and persons below 18 years of age at the time of the commission of the crime, as well as pregnant women."

The 12 countries that voted against the resolution are Bangladesh, Botswana, Burundi, China, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Iraq, Japan, Qatar, Saudia Arabia, The United Arab Emirates, and the United States.

In response to the measure, Renato Sabbadini, director of The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) said:

“This is a monumental moment where the international community has publicly highlighted that these horrific laws simply must end.

“It is unconscionable to think that there are hundreds of millions of people living in states where somebody may be executed simply because of whom they love.”

And why did the United States vote against the resolution?

Photo: Nikki Haley, United States Ambassador to the United Nations (Wikimedia)

André du Plessis, Head of UN Program and Advocacy at the ILGA told PinkNews

“No votes on this resolution as a whole are generally best-interpreted as a position by a country on the death penalty as a whole. 

“It is important to point out that a ‘no’ vote on the resolution is not addressing same-sex relations, but the wider application of death penalty generally.

“The United States, for example, has the death penalty and has a consistent record of voting no on resolutions that are against it.”