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54 countries have publicly supported sexual orientation at the CHR between 2003 and 2006
Currently there are altogether 54 countries that have publicly supported sexual orientation as an issue at the United Nations Commission on Human Rights between 2003 and 2006 by...
a) being co-sponsors of the original Brazilian Resolution in 2003,
b) making references in the High level segment in 2004 and/or 2005
c) supporting the Luxemburg statement under item 6 in 2005
d) supporting the New Zealand statement under item 17 in 2005
e) supporting the Norwegian statement December 1, 2006
European Union (25): Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary ,Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
EU Accession/Candidate Countries (4): Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania and Turkey
EU Potential Candidates (4): Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Macedonia and Serbia and Montenegro
Other Council of Europe (5): Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland
Other WEOG (2): Canada and New Zealand
Latin America (7): Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Guatemala, Mexico, Uruguay and Venezuela
Asia (1): Republic of Korea
In addition a further eight countries voted against the „No-Action“ motion brought by Pakistan and the OIC against the Brazilian Resolution and so in favour of the Brazilian Resolution to be publicly debated
Other Council of Europe (2): Armenia and Ukraine
Other WEOG (2): Australia and U.S.A.
Latin America (3): Costa Rica, Paraguay and Peru
Asia (1): Japan
For a complete record of votes at the UN on sexual orientation and LGBT issues, please check this spread sheet compiled by Arc International.
Arc Internationalによる人権理事会理事国・国別投票状況一覧表 (HTMLスプレッドシート)
国連人権理、「性的指向・性自認に基づく人権侵害非難声明」 日本は不参加 (声明全文テキスト)
Romney's record on gay rights questioned
By GLEN JOHNSON, Associated Press Writer
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Conservatives concerned about inconsistencies in Republican Mitt Romney's record on gay marriage and abortion said Tuesday the Massachusetts governor has some explaining to do. For now, at least, the potential presidential candidate isn't talking.
The governor's office issued a brief statement last weekend amid reports of a 1994 letter in which Romney, then a U.S. Senate candidate, pledged to be a more effective champion for gay causes than his opponent, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (news, bio, voting record), D-Mass.
The statement said the governor has been a "champion of traditional marriage."
At a gathering of San Diego County Republicans Monday night, Romney brushed aside a question from The Associated Press. "Thanks, I have other people to talk to right now," he said.
Such dodges may not satisfy conservatives, who hold critical sway in the primaries and could opt for other possible candidates with strong records on social issues such as Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback (news, bio, voting record) and Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.
Several conservative leaders are seeking answers from Romney.
"I am concerned and I do think he needs to explain this," said Paul Weyrich, chief executive officer of the Free Congress Foundation. "Because he either is or isn't in favor of the homosexual agenda and we need to know before we would get involved in his candidacy."
Richard Land, a top member of the Southern Baptist Convention, was among a group of evangelicals who met with Romney at his home in October. Land said Tuesday, "Christians believe in conversion, and so they're open to listen, but when a candidate 12 years ago says he is more of a champion on these issues than Ted Kennedy, that needs to be explained."
Tom Minnery, spokesman for Focus on the Family, the Colorado-based evangelical organization, said homosexuality is an emotional issue.
"You've got to be committed to your position for it or against it or you'll be swayed, so he's got a lot of explaining to do," Minnery said of the governor.
Romney has repeatedly stated his opposition to gay marriage, but in the 1994 letter — sent in the final weeks of his failed Senate campaign against Kennedy — he cited his sensitivity to the concerns of Log Cabin Republicans, the gay GOP group.
"As a result of our discussions and other interactions with gay and lesbian voters across the state, I am more convinced than ever before that as we seek to establish full equality for America's gays and lesbian citizens, I will provide more effective leadership than my opponent," Romney wrote.
During that same campaign, Romney also stated his personal opposition to abortion, but said he would not seek to change state abortion laws. As proof, he cited his mother's own 1970 candidacy for the U.S. Senate as an abortion rights supporter.
During Romney's 2002 gubernatorial campaign, supporters distributed fliers at a Gay Pride Parade in Boston extending the candidate's well wishes.
Weyrich said other conservatives had complained that Romney did not do enough this year to force the Massachusetts legislature into voting on a proposed constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.
Despite the governor's protests, the Democratic majorities in the House and Senate used a parliamentary tactic to recess rather than vote. Romney has now joined a group asking the Supreme Judicial Court — the same group of jurists who in November 2003 made Massachusetts the first state to allow gay marriage — to force a vote or else order the question onto the state's 2008 ballot.
Prior to Romney's appearance in San Diego on Monday, members of the conservative community circulated e-mails criticizing the governor for being a RINO — Republican In Name Only.
Associated Press writer Allison Hoffman contributed to this report from San Diego.
'Gender equality not neutralising sexes'
December 12 2006 at 10:06AM
By Linda Sieg
Tokyo - Efforts to promote equal opportunities for women at work and in society should not go so far as to try to erase all sex-based distinctions, Japan's cabinet minister for gender equality said on Tuesday.
"What I want to stress is that there is no need to neutralise everything," Sanae Takaichi, one of two women in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's cabinet, told Reuters in an interview.
"There are aspects that are naturally and instinctively different for women, not just differences created by society."
Takaichi's comments echoed concerns among lawmakers worried about fraying traditional values, who in 2005 prodded authors of a government plan to promote gender equality to include a caveat against eradicating all gender-based customs, from separate changing rooms for kids to a dolls festival for girls.
Advocates of improving the status of Japanese women at the time expressed worries that the warning reflected a backlash against recent progress towards gender equality.
First elected to parliament in 1993 as an independent and once a member of an opposition party, Takaichi was known before joining Abe's cabinet in September as an opponent of legislation to allow married couples to keep their premarital surnames.
In a snap election in 2005, then-prime minister Junichiro Koizumi sent Takaichi as one of what media called "assassin" candidates to run against ruling-party rebels who had opposed his pet project of privatising Japan's sprawling postal system.
While Abe's 18-member cabinet has only two women, the prime minister has also appointed women to three of five new posts as core advisers on matters such as education and security.
Takaichi, 45, holds a plethora of portfolios covering topics as diverse as a territorial dispute with Russia, business innovation and Japan's falling birth rate.
Resolving a baby shortage that threatens the future of the world's second-biggest economy will require a package of steps to change social and corporate attitudes as well as reduce the economic burden of child-rearing, Takaichi said.
"We need to change corporate awareness so that bearing and raising children is seen as a great thing that everyone should support," she said. "We need to enlighten the public."
Japan's falling birth rate has been linked to a variety of factors including a trend towards late marriages and the difficulty women have balancing family and work.
Married two years ago to another lawmaker but with no children of her own, Takaichi uses her maiden name professionally but has changed her surname in line with existing civil law.
Changing the law, she said, would mean there were three different models for married couples N those who share and use the same surname, those who use different surnames but share one family name legally, and those who have separate legal surnames.
"I thought that society would become complicated," she said, commenting on her past opposition to separate legal surnames.
"As a minister, I have no intention to say one option is good and another is bad," she said.
"If public opinion grows in favour of one solution, then I think it would be fine to revise (the law) in line with that."
Angus Reid Global Monitor : Polls & Research
French Back Same-Sex Marriage, Not Adoption
December 12, 2006
- Many adults in France believe homosexual partners should be allowed to enter wedlock, according to a poll by Ipsos published in Tetu. 62 per cent of respondents favour the right of same-sex couples to marry.
France has allowed civil unions for gay and lesbian couples since 2000. In June 2004, Begles mayor and Green party politician Noël Mamère conducted the country’s first ever same-sex wedding, claiming that there are no regulations in the country or the European Union (EU) that could thwart such a ceremony.
Interior minister Dominique de Villepin eventually suspended Mamère from his post as mayor for four weeks, citing a "grave misunderstanding of the duties of his office."
In January, the French National Assembly released a report, which cited the need to "affirm and protect the rights of children and the prevalence of those rights over the aspirations of adults." The document recommends maintaining the existing regulations that forbid homosexual couples from marrying, adopting children or resorting to in-vitro fertilization. 55 per cent of respondents believe same-sex couples should not have the right to adopt children.
Same-sex marriage is currently legal in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada and South Africa, and at least 18 countries offer some form of legal recognition to same sex unions.
Do you favour or oppose the following measures concerning same-sex couples?
The right of same-sex couples to marry
The right of same-sex couples to adopt children
Source: Ipsos / Tetu
Methodology: Telephone interviews with 1,008 French adults, conducted on Nov. 3 and Nov. 4, 2006. No margin of error was provided.
Because It's Ｔhere
自民、公明両党は１１日の国対委員長らによる会談で、教育基本法改正案を１５日までの今国会会期内に成立させる方針を確認したとの報道がなされています（毎日新聞：2006年12月11日 21時33分 （最終更新時間 12月11日 22時31分）から、いよいよ教育基本法改正案が成立してしまいそうです。
Nigeria Considers Same-Sex Marriage Ban
By KATHARINE HOURELD, Associated Press Writer
2:02 PM PST, December 11, 2006
LAGOS, Nigeria -- Lawmakers in Nigeria are debating a bill that would ban same-sex marriage and any form of association among gays, even sharing a meal at a restaurant.
Few in Nigeria's deeply closeted gay community have publicly opposed the legislation, which proposes penalties of up to five years in prison and is widely expected to pass.
Engaging in homosexual acts is already illegal in Nigeria, with those convicted facing jail terms in the mainly Christian south and execution in the mainly Muslim north.
"This meeting, right here, would be illegal," said activist Bisi Alimi, stabbing the air with a French fry for emphasis as he sat at a table with three gay friends and a reporter.
Other activities prohibited under the proposed law include belonging to gay clubs or reading books, watching films or accessing Internet sites that "promote" homosexuality.
Alimi has been trying to drum up opposition to the legislation, but says Nigeria's gay community is too far underground and the subject too taboo.
The 27-year-old activist is one of few openly gay Nigerians, having been "outed" by a university newspaper three years ago. None of his companions have told their families of their sexual orientation. They asked to be identified only by their first names, citing the risk of arrest, beatings or even death.
"A few of my best friends know, but I don't have the courage to tell my parents," said Ipadeola, a 23-year-old medical student.
"I don't tell people because it is none of their business," said Mukajuloa, a 21-year-old beautician. "Do heterosexual men go around telling the world they are attracted to women?"
Haruna Yerima, a member of Nigeria's House of Representatives, said he supported the proposed ban. Social contact between gays should be limited, he said, because it might encourage behavior that was "against our culture ... against our religion."
Attitudes toward gays in Nigeria are typical of those across the continent. In neighboring Cameroon, Amnesty International says accusations of homosexuality and anti-gay laws have been used as a weapon against political opponents.
South Africa legalized gay marriages last month in fiercely debated legislation, making it the only country on the continent to do so. But the impetus was more a desire to stamp out all forms of discrimination in a reaction to apartheid than tolerance of gays, who are subject to prejudice and violence in South Africa.
The hostility in Nigeria means that there are very few gay or lesbian organizations. Oludare "Erelu" Odumuye -- the nickname means "queen mother" in Yoruba -- heads one, Alliance Rights.
"That bill would criminalize me if it was passed into law. It would criminalize my organization, it would criminalize my friends," he said.
Thousands of people use Alliance Rights for health services, to gather information or to meet, Odumuye says. To avoid harassment, the group has no membership list and its buildings are not in town centers or identified by signs.
Visitors find them through word-of-mouth, Odumuye said. To give an idea of their size, he says the group received more than 1,500 responses to a recent health survey among gay Nigerians.
Odumuye said the bill is aimed at pleasing the ruling party's political base -- which includes powerful religious groups -- ahead of April elections.
Akin Marinho, a Nigerian human rights lawyer, argued the bill's prohibitions are illegal under Nigeria's constitution and international treaty obligations. Not only does the legislation affect freedoms of speech and expression, but foreign companies could face lawsuits if gay or lesbian staff are unable to take up positions in Nigeria, he said.
Even some conservative religious leaders say the bill goes too far. Though Bishop Joseph Ojo, who presides over the congregation at the evangelical Calvary Kingdom Church, contends gay relationships are "foreign to Africans" and should be outlawed, he adds that gays should "have freedom of speech and expression."
Nigerians have been publicly flogged or beaten severely in prison after being charged with homosexuality.
"There is a lot of ignorance, and that is why people are afraid," Alimi said. "We are not willing to come out and say, "Yes, I am gay. Here I am. I am human, too.'"
Vatican 'interference' on gay rights angers Italian left
by Gina Doggett
Sun Dec 10, 6:23 AM ET
Harsh words from the Vatican over plans to grant legal status to gay couples have drawn an angry reaction from Italy's left wing, which bristled over "interference" in the nation's political affairs.
"It's unacceptable that a measure aimed at ending discrimination should be threatened and condemned," Health Minister Livia Turco told Corriere della Sera after L'Osservatore Romano Sunday, the Vatican mouthpiece, accused the Italian government in an editorial of making a priority of "eradicating the family".
"Too often here in Italy the Church mistakes itself for the state," Mercedes Bresso of the Democrats of the Left told the daily L'Unita.
Prime Minister Romano Prodi's center-left government, which came to power in April, is to draft legislation on civil unions, regardless of sexual orientation, in the Catholic-majority and socially conservative country by January 31.
L'Osservatore Romano's editorial Saturday said: "Eradicating the family is the priority of Italian politics." If the government insists it is defending "individual rights" and that "nothing intends to endanger the traditional family, it will be lying."
Italy's press Saturday carried banner headlines reading "The Vatican on the Attack" and "The Vatican Says Halt".
Although most Italians are at least nominally Roman Catholics, the country is officially secular, and the Vatican is a foreign power that is not supposed to interfere in Italy's internal affairs.
However, the Vatican broadside on civil unions coincided with remarks by Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday urging that religious symbols be allowed in public places.
"Hostility to ... the presence of any religious symbols in public institutions ... is not a sign of healthy secularism, but the degeneration of secularism," he told a group of Italian Catholic jurists.
While acknowledging that "any direct intervention by the Church in this area would be illegitimate interference," the pope defended the Church's right to "affirm and defend great values that give meaning to a person's life and safeguard its dignity."
The Church, which fiercely opposes euthanasia, has also weighed in on the case of a man suffering from muscular dystrophy who wants to be removed from life support.
The Vatican's top official for health issues, Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, deferred to experts studying the question of whether 60-year-old Piergiorgio Welby is receiving "excessive care" justifying an end to his suffering.
"Euthanasia is still equivalent to killing, and the Church cannot accept it," he told the daily La Repubblica, while adding: "The use of disproportionate, absolutely useless, means to treat a terminally ill patient is a useless and cruel practice that only prolongs agony, pain and suffering."
The new legislation on "de facto" couples would grant them inheritance rights, joint medical insurance and visiting rights in prisons and hospitals, among others, but stop short of allowing them to adopt children.
The Italian opposition, led by Forza Italia of former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, also blasted the plan, while doubting whether Prodi's motley coalition -- ranging from communists, Greens and radicals to centrist and traditional Catholics -- will be able to unite behind the initiative.
However the bill -- part of Prodi's Union coalition's election manifesto ahead of the April polls -- is expected to be enacted by the Senate, even though the center-left enjoys only a one-seat majority there.
Vatican criticises Italy plans on gay, unwed couples
Sun Dec 10, 2006 3:34 AM GMT
By Phil Stewart
ROME (Reuters) - The Vatican said on Saturday Italy's left sought to "eradicate" the traditional family by adding to its Christmas wish-list legislation that would give legal rights to unwed couples, including homosexual ones.
The Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, said in an editorial that politicians in the ruling centre-left coalition were embarking on a "senseless battle". They aim to put forward a bill by the end of January.
"Fifteen days to Christmas. And there are those making other calculations, thinking of other deadlines," it wrote in its weekend edition.
The headline read: "Christmas 2006: To eradicate the family is the priority of Italian politics."
Prime Minister Romano Prodi was elected in April on a campaign platform that included some sort of legal recognition of unwed couples. But he has so far stopped short of openly supporting gay marriage, a divisive issue in Catholic Italy.
He greeted a Senate motion on Thursday urging some recognition of heterosexual and homosexual couples as a "step forward". Equal Opportunity Minister Barbara Pollastrini said she would start working on a draft law in the coming days so it would be ready by the Senate's requested January deadline.
This outraged centre-right politicians. But the motion, partly a compromise after lawmakers dropped a measure about unwed couples' inheritance, has also stirred up controversy within Prodi's cabinet.
Justice Minister Clemente Mastella, who is also a senator, said in comments published by Italia media on Saturday that he was ready to cast his first vote against the ruling majority unless the traditional family was fully protected.
Prodi's coalition governs with a narrow one-seat majority in the Senate and Mastella warned the "Catholic part of the centre left" could be swayed to side with the centre right.
The uproar also came just days after the city of Padua, in northern Italy's Catholic heartland, became the first in the country to allow unmarried heterosexuals and homosexuals to register formally as couples.
L'Osservatore Romano said it was "hypocrisy" for politicians to say they will safeguard the family and at the same time allow unwed couples equal footing.
"Even this is -- and we don't know how unknowingly -- a lie," it said.
Gay groups welcome stand against violence
Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) from around the world have welcomed a landmark statement on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity, delivered last Friday at the United Nations Human Rights Council by Norway on behalf of 54 States.
The statement condemns human rights violations directed against people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, commends the work of UN mechanisms and civil society in this area, calls on UN Special Procedures and treaty bodies to address these issues, and urges the Human Rights Council to pay due attention to human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity, including consideration at an upcoming session.
“This is the largest-ever statement delivered at the UN on sexual orientation issues, and the first ever to explicitly highlight human rights violations based on gender identity.” said John Fisher, co-director of human rights group ARC International, who pioneered the campaign.
“We are encouraged by the measurable increase in cross-regional support for sexual orientation and gender identity issues in recent years. The time has come to ensure that human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity receive the international scrutiny and condemnation they demand.”
Chris Sidoti, Director of the International Service for Human Rights, said: “Numerous Special Procedures have documented violations of the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons.
“These violations include use of the death penalty, torture, criminal sanctions, police harassment, violence, rape, beatings, disappearances, denials of freedom of expression, raids and closures of NGOs, and discrimination in education, employment, health and housing. Too often in the past, these human rights abuses have passed in silence. Now, the era of invisibility is over.”
Rosanna Flamer-Caldera, Co-Secretary General of the International Lesbian and Gay Association highlighted the fact that more than 460 NGOs from 69 different countries had joined together to commend Norway for its leadership and support the statement.
“Activists from around the world often work on issues of sexual orientation and gender identity at risk of their jobs, their freedom, even their lives. The Norwegian statement has united States and NGOs from around the world to send a clear message that human rights violations directed against our communities can no longer be ignored.”
Earlier this year, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour in a keynote speech to an International Conference on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights noted that “violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons is frequently unreported, undocumented and goes ultimately unpunished. … This shameful silence is the ultimate rejection of the fundamental principle of universality of rights. … Excluding LGBT individuals from these protections clearly violates international human rights law as well as the common standards of humanity that define us all.”