Sunday, June 08, 2008

Organization of American States recognizes LGBT people

The Organization of American States (OAS), whose concept predates the United Nations, and was critical to U.S. President Kennedy during the "day the world stood still," also known as the Cuban Missile Crisis passed a historic resolution recognizing lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.

The resolution was presented by the government of the Federative Republic of Brazil (who has worked with the International Lesbian and Gay Organization for years in favor of LGBT protections) and was approved after three days of negotiations and a mobilization campaign by civilians present there. The English-Speaking Caribbean countries (some countries still criminalize homosexuality) initially resisted and the initial text – although short, was further shortened.

The decision includes gender identity (a subject considered difficult in many countries and forgotten by many activists in the world) besides sexual orientation, and recognizes the existence of the human rights violations to the ITBLG population.

The text of the resolution in English together with the declaration was to the General Assembly of the Organization of American States by Camilo, a young 14-year-old Colombian transsexual (female to male).

(Adopted at the fourth plenary session, held on June 3, 2008)


That the Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in that Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, or other status;*

That the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man establishes that every human being has the right to life, liberty, and the security of the person;

CONSIDERING that the OAS Charter proclaims that the historic mission of America is to offer to man a land of liberty and a favorable environment for the development of his personality and the realization of his just aspirations;

REAFFIRMING the principles of universality, indivisibility, and interdependence of human rights; and

TAKING NOTE with concern acts of violence and related human rights violations perpetrated against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity,

  1. To express concern about acts of violence and related human rights violations committed against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.
  2. To request that the Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs(CAJP) include on its agenda, before the thirty-ninth regular session of the General Assembly, the topic of "Human rights, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
  3. To request the Permanent Council to report to the General Assembly at its thirty-ninth regular session on the implementation of this resolution, the execution of which shall be subject to the resources allocated in the program-budget of the Organization and other resources.
The International Lesbian and Gay Organization (ILGA) has worked hard to get this placed for a vote.

ILGA worked with Brazil a couple of years ago to have similar resolutions passed at the United Nations, but the United States, Iran, and Egypt killed the legislation.

The primary difference between this being passed at the United Nations and the Organization of American States is that if the United Nations passed such legislation, it would carry the weight of law. The Organization of American States can only sanction or suspend member states who violates its charter (such as Cuba, who has been suspended for decades).

Nonetheless, this is progress for LGBT people!


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