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UN reinstates reference to sexual orientation in resolution on execution

The British Humanist Association has welcomed the vote late last night by the United Nations General Assembly in favour of adding victims’ sexual orientation back to the list of highlighted groups in a resolution condemning extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

The UN passes the resolution every two years, which urges states to protect the right to life of all people, including by calling on states to investigate killings based on discriminatory grounds. For the past 10 years, the resolution has included sexual orientation in the list of discriminatory grounds on which killings are often based. However one month ago the General Assembly’s Third Committee narrowly voted to take out “sexual orientation” from this year’s resolution, which the BHA believes constituted the removal of the recognition of the particular vulnerability of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people around the world.

The vote in the General Assembly proper was on a US amendment that reintroduced this explicit protection; the vote was passed by 93 in favour to 55 against, with 27 abstentions.

BHA Head of Public Affairs Naomi Phillips commented, ‘The reintroduction of this reference is a positive step that signifies a willingness by the majority of states to work towards reducing discrimination. We welcome the support of the US and UK Governments on this vital issue, though it is a shame that so many other countries continue to persecute LGBT individuals.’

The BHA has lobbied in favour of House of Commons Early Day Motion 1198, which calls for the reintroduction of the reference. Ms Phillips continued, ‘We will keep campaigning on this issue and will look to renew our efforts in the New Year.’


For further comment or information, contact Naomi Phillips at or 020 7079 3585.

See the outcome of the UN vote

Read Early Day Motion 1198

The British Humanist Association is the national charity representing and supporting the interests of ethically concerned, non-religious people in the UK. It is the largest organisation in the UK campaigning for an end to religious privilege and to discrimination based on religion or belief, and for a secular state.

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