For the first time, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly has unanimously adopted a resolution that includes the terms “sexual orientation and gender identity.” There was no vote on the resolution, which was deemed adopted by consensus.
During the session, 22 countries opposed the inclusion of the controversial terms.
The Saudi Arabian ambassador said the terms “sexual orientation and gender identity are not in harmony with divine nature.” He pointed out that “God created man and woman as a couple, male and female.”
Other countries have said that including these terms in the US-sponsored resolution on free and fair elections goes against their cultures and their laws.
They insisted that these terms are not the subject of international agreement and should not be included in future resolutions. And they questioned the relevance of including them in a resolution on free and fair elections.
“In your country, do you have to confirm your sexual orientation when you cast your ballot?” A Russian delegate asked mockingly after the resolution was passed.
A delegate from Egypt said that the inclusion of gender ideology “undermines” the human rights system and “imposes vague concepts relating to private matters that are outside the scope of human rights framework.”
A vote on the resolution was initially expected in the plenary session of the General Assembly, where the resolution was ultimately to be adopted.
The UN staff leading the meeting had taken steps in anticipation of a vote rather than adoption by unanimous consensus. A complaint filed by Saudi Arabia called for a vote. Under intense pressure from the Biden administration, no vote ultimately took place.
The adoption by consensus of a resolution with language on “sexual orientation and gender identity” is a watershed moment in United Nations policy.
Over the past two decades, the threat of a veto from countries such as Cameroon, Nigeria, and Saudi Arabia has blocked the addition of language on “sexual orientation and gender identity” in dozens of resolutions.
The US resolution on free and fair elections is generally adopted by consensus in the General Assembly every two years. But the language of the resolution goes beyond asking for respect or privacy.
It calls on countries to “eliminate laws, regulations and practices that are directly or indirectly discriminatory” or that may affect the participation of people who identify as LGBT, which is a human rights obligation.
This broad language could be interpreted by the United Nations system as requiring recognition of same-sex marriage and hormone therapy for children who identify as the opposite sex, as well as comprehensive sex education.
At the Democracy Summit, sponsored by the US State Department and the Biden administration, US officials explicitly linked democracy to promoting the LGBT agenda. The fifty-eight countries that opposed the inclusion of “sexual orientation and gender identity” in the election resolution were threatened with being viewed as undemocratic societies.
“No society has the right to impose its values on others,” said a Nigerian delegate. The delegate then introduced an amendment to remove the controversial terms on behalf of 17 nations. *
He said the words “have no legal basis in international human rights law” and called their inclusion in the resolution “an attempt to smuggle controversial terms into an otherwise good resolution.”
Rumors were circulating that the Nigerian delegation would vote against the entire resolution if the amendment failed. The adoption of the resolution was moved without explanation. Nigeria then did not call for a vote against the resolution.
Insiders speculate that Nigeria changed its stance due to pressure exerted on President Muhammadu Buhari by US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken who was visiting Nigeria on the same day.
It seems that the withdrawal of Nigeria from the blacklist drawn up by the United States, targeting countries where religious freedom is particularly threatened, was a good compensation.
* The 17 countries that introduced the amendment to delete the language on sexual orientation and gender identity are Algeria, Bangladesh, Belarus, Cameroon, Egypt, Indonesia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Libya, Malaysia, Mali, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Syrian Arab Republic, and Yemen.