A United Nations Human Rights Council resolution condemning the death penalty for those found guilty of committing consensual same-sex sexual acts was opposed by a total of 13 countries, with the United States joining several African and Middle Eastern countries in voting against the measure.
The resolution, introduced by Belgium, Benin, Costa Rica, France, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia and Switzerland introduced, passed by a 27-13 vote margin on Sept. 29.
Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Rwanda, South Africa, Togo, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Albania, Croatia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Slovenia, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, El Salvador, Panama, Paraguay, Venezuela, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Switzerland and the U.K. supported the resolution.
Botswana, Burundi, Egypt, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, China, India, Iraq, Japan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates joined the United States in opposing the measure.
Kenya, Nigeria, Tunisia, Indonesia, the Philippines, South Korea and Cuba abstained.
According to the Washington Blade, the resolution specifically condemns “the imposition of the death penalty as a sanction for specific forms of conduct, such as apostasy, blasphemy, adultery and consensual same-sex relations” and expresses “serious concern that the application of the death penalty for adultery is disproportionately imposed on women.”
It also notes that the “poor and economically vulnerable persons and foreign nationals are disproportionately subjected to the death penalty, that laws carrying the death penalty are used against persons exercising their rights to freedom of expression, thought, conscience, religion, and peaceful assembly and association, and that persons belonging to religious or ethnic minorities are disproportionately represented among those sentenced to the death penalty.”
According to the Washington Blade:
ILGA in a press release noted Egypt, Russia and Saudi Arabia sought to amend the resolution and “dilute its impact.” These amendments failed, even though the U.S. supported two of them from Russia that stated the death penalty “does not per se mean a (human rights) violation, but may lead to . . . (human rights) violations” and “in some cases the (death penalty) leads to torture, rather than that many states hold that the (death penalty) is a form of torture.”
The U.S. also backed a proposed amendment from Egypt that stated “a moratorium (on the death penalty) should be a decision after domestic debate.” The U.S. abstained from voting on a proposed amendment from Saudi Arabia that said countries have the right to “develop their own laws and penalties (in accordance with international law.)”
Iran, Saudi Arabia, Mauritania and Sudan are among the handful of countries in which consensual same-sex sexual activity remains punishable by death. The so-called Islamic State has executed dozens of men in Iraq, Syria and Libya who were accused of committing sodomy.
“It is unconscionable to think that there are hundreds of millions of people living in states where somebody may be executed simply because of whom they love” said ILGA Executive Director Renato Sabbadini in a press release, referring to the resolution. “This is a monumental moment where the international community has publicly highlighted that these horrific laws simply must end.”
Trump has yet to make public comments on the ongoing crackdown against LGBTQ Chechens.
Under President Barack Obama’s leadership in 2014, The U.S. and 24 other countries voted for a resolution against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender the U.N. Human Rights Council adopted.