An end to the hangings?

In an official statement in 2008, French Human Rights Minister Rama Yade has announced that France will press the UN to pursue universal decriminalisation of homosexual conduct. The statement and my rough translation are below.

This is an important move as homosexual conduct remains a crime in 75 countries and is punishable in by death in Iran, Mauritania, part of Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

Entretien de Mme Rama Yade avec les associations plusieurs associations Lesbiennes, Gays Bi et Transexuelles (LGBT) (17 mai 2008)

Rama Yade, secrétaire d’Etat chargée des Affaires étrangères et des droits de l’Homme, a reçu aujourd’hui, à l’occasion de la Journée internationale contre l’homophobie, plusieurs associations Lesbiennes, Gays Bi et Transexuelles (LGBT) engagées dans la lutte contre les discriminations fondées sur l’orientation sexuelle.

La secrétaire d’Etat a annoncé aux associations que le Gouvernement reconnaissait désormais officiellement cette Journée internationale contre l’homophobie.

Elle leur a également présenté le principe d’une initiative européenne appelant à la dépénalisation universelle de l’homosexualité, qui serait portée devant l’Assemblée Générale des Nations Unies lors de notre prochaine Présidence de l’Union Européenne. Elle a souhaité que cette initiative soit conduite en étroite concertation avec les associations LGBT.

Madame Yade s’est engagée à évoquer les cas d’homophobie constatés lors de ses déplacements à l’étranger.

Meeting of Mrs. Rama Yade with Lesbian, Gay, Bi and Transsexual (LGBT) organisations (17 May, 2008)

On the occasion today of the International Day Against Homophobia, Rama Yade, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Human Rights, received several organisations of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual (LGBT) people committed to the fight against discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The Secretary of State announced to the organisations that from now on the Government officially recognized this International Day Against Homophobia

She also announced a proposal for a European initiative calling for universal decriminalisation of homosexuality, to placed before the General Assembly of the United Nations during the forthcoming of [France’s] presidency of the European Union. She wished that this initiative be conducted in close consultation with LGBT organisations.

Mrs Yade committed herself to drawing attention to cases of homophobia during her missions abroad.

The UK Government also announced its own commitment to ending global discrimination against LGBT people.

In a statement issued on the international day against homophobia, the Government said it has made great strides in recent years in combating homophobia in the UK. The goal is full equality in the enjoyment of human rights by all those lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people who live in the UK.

Marking the International day against Homophobia, Meg Munn Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said;

“There are 75 countries around the world where same sex relationships are prohibited, and nine countries where they are punishable by death. Despite repeated condemnation by the UN Human Rights Committee, discrimination and denial of people’s basic human rights due to sexual orientation continues. Human rights are universal and should not be determined by sexual orientation or gender identity.

“We are committed to promoting equality and ending the discrimination of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people (LGBT) around the world and have developed a programme to help achieve this. Working with human rights activists, international institutions and non-governmental organisations and like minded governments the Foreign Office is targeting states where same sex relations are illegal, to raise our concerns and encourage them to change their laws.

“Our work concentrates on those aspects of discrimination where UK intervention may have a positive effect such as, non-discrimination in the application of human rights; decriminalisation of same sex relationships; support for LGBT activists and human rights defenders; health and health education; raising LGBT issues at international / multilateral institutions; and direct engagement with key countries.”