Gertrude Mtsweni COSATU Gender Co-ordinator
COSATU has congratulated the South African Government on taking a bold step and providing progressive leadership on a topic which was previously considered ‘hands off’ in the United Nations.
The UN Human rights Council has passed the first ever resolution, sponsored by South Africa, and supported by Brazil, that affirms the universality of human rights and notes with concern acts of violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. It aims to “open the long closed doors of dialogue”, and states that “Everyone is entitled to all rights and freedom without distinction of any kind”.
This resolution represents a historic opportunity to highlight the human rights abuses and violations that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people around the world face, including rape and killing based on their identity and relationships. We hope that this resolution will open up a broader global discussion on how to best promote and protect the human rights of LGBTI people. Everyone has a right to be protected by law; no one should be excluded simply because of sexual orientation and identity.
The resolution requests the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to commission a study to document discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity and how international human rights law can be used to end violence and related human rights violations based sexual orientation and gender identity.
Based on the outcomes of the study, the High Commissioner is to convene a panel discussion during the 19th Session of Human Rights Council, and to have constructive, informed and transparent dialogue on the issues of discriminatory laws.
COSATU congratulates the SA government for their firm and bold leadership in such a complex and multilateral space, this is quite a great move and very victory for the workers, community who have been subjected to human rights violation based on their status and who have been subjected to family and social exclusion, and excluded from the labour market even though the laws and the constitution are against discrimination.
First published in Cosatu Today 22 June 2011