CALL TO ACTION: DECEMBER 20 U.N. VOTE ON PROTECTING LGBT PEOPLE FROM EXTRAJUDICIAL EXECUTIONS
Toronto: This Monday, December 20, the United Nations General Assembly will vote on whether to include protection for LGBT people in a crucial resolution on extrajudicial executions and other unlawful killings. For the past 10 years, this resolution has urged States "to investigate promptly and thoroughly all killings, including... all killings committed for any discriminatory reason, including sexual orientation". It is the only UN resolution to ever include an explicit reference to sexual orientation.
Just last month, a number of States proposed an amendment to remove the reference to sexual orientation from this important resolution. Shockingly, this amendment passed. Seventy-nine States voted to remove the reference to sexual orientation, 70 supported its retention, and 43 States abstained or did not vote. However, States will have the opportunity to restore the reference to sexual orientation–and hopefully extend it to also include gender identity and gender expression–when the resolution comes up before the UN General Assembly on Monday, December 20. This gives us a short window to contact governments and send a clear message that killings of those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans are not acceptable–ever.
Please take action today to urge the Government of Canada to support language in the resolution calling on States to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans persons from unlawful killings. Copy the draft letter below into your email program and send it to Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and John McNee, Canada’s Ambassador to the United Nations.
The Hon. Lawrence Cannon, P.C., M.P. Minister of Foreign Affairs
House of Commons
Sent by email: Cannon.L@parl.gc.ca
I write to you in reference to recent actions taken by the United Nations. As you are surely aware, the Third Committee voted last month to remove a reference to sexual orientation from a resolution that condemns extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. The deletion of this reference, which has been included in the resolution for the past 10 years, is extremely disturbing and dangerous. It eliminates the important recognition of the particular vulnerability faced by sexual minorities around the world at a time when homosexuality is still criminalized in 76 countries and considered a capital offence by 5 of these.
I appreciate that Canada voted against removing the reference in the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly. However, when the resolution comes to a vote before the UN General Assembly on Monday, December 20, I strongly encourage you to take action to restore the reference to sexual orientation. Further, I urge you to take the additional steps to also move for the inclusion of gender identity and gender expression, and to urge all Member States to do the same. It is imperative that Canada take all measures possible to send a clear message that killings of those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans are not acceptable–ever.