On Dec. 18, 66 nations signed the UN Statement that affirms human rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, and demands decriminalization of sexual minorities. Theocracies, dictatorships and the US refused to sign.
On December 18th at the United Nations General Assembly, 66 of the 192 member nations signed a Statement affirming that universal application of the International Declaration of Human Rights should apply equally to every human being regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. The statement also calls for worldwide decriminalization of sexual orientation and gender identity, and it adopted the Organization of American States Resolution affirming these principles. The US refused to sign.
Behind the initiative is French activist Louis-Georges Tin, who founded IDAHO the International Day Against Homophobia (May 17). Working closely with several non-governmental organizations, he compelled activists to lobby their own governments in support of decriminalization.
The Statement read by Argentina's Jorge Arguello can be viewed in this UN video marked as "18 December 08 General Assembly: 70th and 71st plenary meeting - Morning session", starting at 2:25:11. Arguello began by naming the 66 nations that support universal human rights, and expressed deep concern over human rights violations of sexual minorities. Two tenets of the 13-point Statement read:
"We call upon all States and relevant international human rights mechanisms to commit to promote and protect human rights of all persons, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.
"We urge States to take all the necessary measures, in particular legislative or administrative, to ensure that sexual orientation or gender identity may under no circumstances be the basis for criminal penalties, in particular executions, arrests or detention."
Immediately following Arguello's statement, Abdullah Hallak, the Syrian representative for a group comprised mostly of African and Muslim nations rejected the declaration, claiming that pedophilia would be legitimized. This 'slippery slope' argument is just as invalid as the claim that marijuana is a gateway drug, and serves the same purpose: fear-mongering. It is used to cover hatred of diversity.A high level panel discussion on sexual orientation and gender identity hosted by France and the Netherlands followed that reading. (See video.) French Secretary of State for International Affairs and Human Rights, Rama Yade, said "At the beginning of this 21st century, how can we accept that people could be arrested, could be tortured, could be executed because of their sexual orientation?"