A bloc of Arab and African nations have successfully blocked a reference to sexual orientation in a United Nations General Assembly resolution condemning "extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions." The amendment calling for the deletion was introduced by Morocco and Mali, reports Reuters.
Morocco and Mali introduced an amendment on behalf of African and Islamic nations that called for deleting the words "sexual orientation" and replacing them with "discriminatory reasons on any basis." ... Western delegations expressed disappointment in the human rights committee's vote to remove the reference to slayings due to sexual orientation from the resolution.
The U.S. delegation voted against the deletion but abstained from the vote on the final resolution. Diplomats said the U.S. delegation also voiced disappointment at the decision to remove the reference to sexual orientation. The resolution, which is expected to be formally adopted by the General Assembly in December, specifies many other types of violence, including killings for racial, national, ethnic, religious or linguistic reasons and killings of refugees, indigenous people and other groups. "It's a step backwards and it's extremely disappointing that some countries felt the need to remove the reference to sexual orientation, when sexual orientation is the very reason why so many people around the world have been subjected to violence," said Philippe Bolopion of Human Rights Watch.
The General Assembly passes the resolution every two years. The 2008 declaration included an explicit reference to killings committed because of the victims' sexual preferences. The latest, stripped down resolution passed Tuesday on a vote of 165-0, with ten abstentions, including the United States
Ironically, the Republic of Mali, an overwhelmingly Muslim nation in Western Africa, is one of the few African nations that does not explicitly criminalize sodomy or gay sexual relationships. Morocco is home to a large expatriate European community and has long been a sex tourism destination for gay men. Despite some some press freedoms and a small LGBT movement, sodomy and homosexuality remains officially illegal and punishable by up to ten years in the Islamic kingdom