The DA sent a letter to government regarding SA's vote to delete the basis of sexual orientation from a resolution condemning unjustified executions.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) on Monday wrote a letter to the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoane-Mashabe in response to South Africa’s recent vote to remove reference to sexual orientation from a United Nations (UN) resolution on extrajudicial killings.
“We believe that this vote runs contrary to our constitution and will serve to weaken the international community’s response to extrajudicial killings based on sexual orientation.”
In the letter from Kenneth Mubu, the DA’s shadow minister for International Relations and Cooperation said he was disappointed that South Africa on November 17 stood with countries that found homosexual acts to be illegal, including Uganda, Uzbekistan, Syria and Jamaica. Punishments vary from public floggings to hefty jail sentences. In some cases there are life sentences imposed on those found guilty of being homosexual.
Arab and African nations succeeded in getting the UN General Assembly panel to delete from a resolution condemning unjustified executions a specific reference to killings due to sexual orientation.
Western delegations expressed disappointment in the human rights committee’s vote to remove the reference to slayings due to sexual orientation from the resolution on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions.
“The subject of this amendment—the need for prompt and thorough investigations of all killing, including those committed for ... sexual orientation—exists in this resolution simply because it is a continuing cause for concern,” a British statement to the committee said.
The General Assembly passes a resolution condemning extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions and other killings every two years. The 2008 declaration included an explicit reference to killings committed because of the victims’ sexual preferences.
But this year, Morocco and Mali introduced an amendment on behalf of African and Islamic nations that called for deleting the words “sexual orientation” and replacing them with “discriminatory reasons on any basis”.
That amendment narrowly passed 79-70. The resolution then was approved by the committee, which includes all 192 UN member states, with 165 in favor, 10 abstentions and no votes against.
In the letter Mubu said they were of the opinion that South Africa could have changed the outcome of the vote.
“With neighbouring countries like Lesotho, Namibia, Botswana and Mozambique joining South Africa in voting in favour of this amendment, it is quite conceivable that, had South Africa adopted a more principled stance, we could have influenced enough other states in the region to take up the same position, and thus change the outcome of the final vote.”
The US delegation voted against the deletion but abstained from the vote on the final resolution. Diplomats said the US delegation also voiced disappointment at the decision to remove the reference to sexual orientation.
The resolution, which is expected to be formally adopted by the General Assembly in December, specifies many other types of violence, including killings for racial, national, ethnic, religious or linguistic reasons and killings of refugees, indigenous people and other groups.
“It’s a step backwards and it’s extremely disappointing that some countries felt the need to remove the reference to sexual orientation, when sexual orientation is the very reason why so many people around the world have been subjected to violence,” said Philippe Bolopion of Human Rights Watch.—M&G Online and Reuters