Homosexual Rights Resolution Withdrawn at United Nations

Article excerpt


NEW YORK - The Brazilian government, bowing to economic and political pressure from the Islamic world, yesterday withdrew its effort to protect the civil rights of homosexuals.

Brazil had introduced a resolution before the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Commission to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation.

But the measure was vehemently opposed by the Vatican and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), both of which lobbied the 53 members of the Human Rights Commission to oppose the resolution.

"Since November last year, we have been consulting with delegations of several countries on the text," Brazil's U.N. mission in Geneva said in a statement. "We have not yet been able, however, to arrive at a necessary consensus."

U.N. officials say Brazil may choose to reintroduce the language at next year's six-week session.

"What Brazil is proposing is that [the resolution] be postponed until next year," said Jose Dias, a spokesman for the Human Rights Commission. "Technically, they are withdrawing it."

The same thing happened last year, when Brazil was forced to postpone consideration of similar language.

Diplomats in Geneva and New York said there was no way the resolution, which calls on governments to protect citizens' human rights "regardless of their sexual orientation," would pass in the commission.

"There is widespread opposition to it from the Islamic countries," said one diplomat who is familiar with the proceedings. "The Vatican was also opposed."

The resolution had picked up 18 co-sponsors on the committee, predominantly European nations.

Scott Long, the director of homosexual, bisexual and transgender issues for the New York-based Human Rights Watch, said yesterday that Brazil had come under "extreme pressure" from several Islamic nations, particularly Egypt and Pakistan. …