Explanation of Vote in Opposition to a Proposed Amendment Removing "Sexual Orientation" and "Gender Identity" from the UNGA Resolution on Extrajudicial, Summary, and Arbitrary Executions

Ambassador Elizabeth Cousens
U.S. Representative to ECOSOC 
New York, NY
November 20, 2012




AS PREPARED

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

We are taking the floor to make an Explanation of Vote before the vote.

The United States strongly opposes the proposed amendment to remove reference to sexual orientation and gender identity from resolution L.36. We will be voting “no” against the amendment and urge that all delegations do the same.

The deletion of this specific language suggests that people targeted for extrajudicial killing on account of their sexual orientation or gender identity do not enjoy the same right to life as others. Surely no country here today would condone the extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary execution of any individual on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. That basic right to life is what is at stake. We must affirm that “all human rights apply to all” by voting to oppose this measure.

Two years ago, the General Assembly overwhelmingly voted to reinsert language on sexual orientation to this very resolution. Since that time, the Human Rights Council has affirmed that all human rights apply to everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. As in 2010, we must reaffirm that principle by opposing this amendment today.

The United States urges all delegations present here to oppose the deletion of this language and vote NO on this amendment to ensure that this language remains in the text that the Third Committee adopts today.

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PRN: 2012/262