Refocus with Gerard Veldhoven
The United Nations shamefully faltered by adopting a resolution which excludes LGBT families. As one reads the list of nations that pushed for this legislation it is not surprising that they are the usual ones responsible for inequality in any form. Egypt, Russia, Uganda and Quatar signed the resolution that requires the council to host a panel and produce a report on protecting families. The resolution, named “protection of the family,” may well further marginalize diverse family structures.
This report excludes many families like those led by single parents, grandparents, or LGBT families. A panel discussion on the report is expected in September of this year. Egypt pushed for the legislation and its current language and supported by Russia, Uganda and Quatar and was adopted by 22-20 majority.
Nations such as France, Chile, Uruguay and Ireland support diversity of families and any other equal rights issue that pertains to the LGBT community.
As a world body, the UN fails miserably in human rights issues. Rogue nations such as, Russia have a power that is able to destruct any attempt to equal rights. Apparently Russia utilized a procedural manoeuvre that prevented discussion of this issue and the motion to acknowledge family diversity was denied.
This a huge setback that will further isolate attempts to bring equality in this world where these nations seem to have the power to overrule.
Recently, Russia has been at the forefront of denying the gay community equal recognition within its borders. A new law prohibits any sexual activity other than heterosexual contact. The law has been criticized by world leaders, but has no effect on the Russian leadership.
Any attempt to “normalize” gay life is against the new rules. Activists have been jailed in various attempts to fight for equal gay rights.
Religious fundamentalists no doubt rejoice in this latest news from the United Nations. The UN Human Rights Council seems a redundant organization if it is unable to assure equality for all. If this is to be a constant battle that can easily be overturned if a resolution goes against the laws of other countries, then the United Nations ceases to be an asset in any attempts to fight for LGBT rights.
Early education must be at the forefront and only then will we realize the fruits of our labour, as future adults will be more informed, resulting in a more inclusive society. Will this work in Russia, India, Egypt, Uganda and other world nations? Perhaps, but how will this be implemented in countries where equality of any kind is not recognized?
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Gerard Veldhoven is a former Amherst resident who is a long time activist for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. His column appears weekly in The Amherst News.