UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said that the UN would recognise same-sex marriages of their own staff. However, Geneva-based human rights organisation UN Watch has continued to criticise them saying that the world body would only send a clear message on equal rights when its top human rights bodies ‘stop adopting anti-gay resolutions, and stop promoting those who kill, persecute and criminalize gays.’

In its latest June session, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) refused to oppose violence against gays, instead launching ‘another thinly-veiled attack on gays’ by adopting a widely-condemned resolution entitled ‘Protection of the Family’.

‘When democracies sought to expand the definition of family, the UNHRC’s anti-gay majority shut down all debate through a “No Action” motion, a draconian measure used only once before in the entire history of the Council’s 46 regular and special sessions,’ said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch.

He continued: ‘All of this comes as the Council continues to adopt similar resolutions invoking “traditional values”, which has been used by Russia, Nigeria and Uganda to justify anti-gay legislation.’

Top UN bodies promote anti-gay perpetrators

Neuer expressed alarm at recent UN decisions that ‘elevate and empower notorious perpetrators of anti-gay discrimination,’ saying such actions ‘send the worst message and only ensure the further undermining of fundamental human rights.’

  • In a move that elicited wide criticism, the UN General Assembly unanimously elected Ugandan Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa, who supports his country’s infamously strict anti-gay laws, as President for the next year.
  • Saudi Arabia, which executes gays, was recently elected to the UN Human Rights Council, as was the United Arab Emirates, which has similar laws. Russia took its seat this year despite anti-gay laws. Numerous other of the 47 UNHRC member states have laws making homosexuality illegal: Algeria, Botswana, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Kuwait, Maldives, Morocco, Namibia and Sierra Leone.

The UN Committee on NGOs, which oversees the work of human rights groups, recently made Sudan its Vice-Chair, even though it executes gays; Pakistan was made Chair, though its laws make homosexuality illegal, as do other committee members such as Burundi, India, Morocco, Mozambique, and Senegal.

ECOSOC, a top UN organisation that oversees the work of UN human rights commissions, includes Nigeria and Sudan, which execute gays; and countries that make homosexuality illegal such as Bangladesh, Indonesia, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Libya and Turkmenistan.

The UN Committee on the Status of Women includes Iran, Mauritania and Sudan, which execute gays; and countries that make homosexuality illegal such as Qatar, Somalia, and Yemen.