Obama spokesperson: UN resolution reaffirms LGBT rights as ‘fundamental freedoms’

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An advisor to President Barack Obama has welcomed the passage of a UN Human Rights Council resolution condemning violence and discrimination against LGBT people.

The landmark resolution, which condemns “acts of violence and discrimination, in all regions of the world, committed against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity”, passed yesterday with support from 25 countries, while 14 voted against it and 7 voted abstained.

National Security Advisor Susan E Rice said: “Today’s resolution reiterates that LGBT persons are entitled to the human rights and fundamental freedoms that are the birthright of all humankind, expresses grave concern regarding acts of violence and discrimination against LGBT persons, and requests the preparation of an important new report on preventing such abuses.

“We thank sponsors Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Uruguay for their leadership, and commend the Council for taking another historic step to reinforce the unassailable principle that LGBT rights are human rights.”

US Ambassador to the UN Keith Harper added: “We are pleased to see that today the international community is visibly and publicly upholding the rights of LGBT individuals, and thereby we demonstrate ourselves as a global community respecting the rights of all.”

South African Ambassador Abdul Samad also celebrated the resolution, adding that his country was committed “to the principle that no person should be subjected to discrimination or violence based on race, class, sex, religion, gender and as is the case with this resolution, on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.”

He continued: “It is the same value base that guides our stance on fighting for equality between countries and why we shall always make our voices heard about exploitation and oppression of people in any form.”

The 25 countries who voted in favour were Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Costa Rica, Cuba, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Montenegro, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, Romania, South Africa, FYR Macedonia, the UK, the US, Venezuela and Vietnam.

The 14 countries voted against the motion were Algeria, Botswana, Cote D’ivoire, Ethiopia, Gabon, Indonesia, Kenya, Kuwait, Maldives, Morocco, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia and UAE, while 7 countries including China and India abstained.