The United Nation's High Commissioner
for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, has called on nations to abolish
discriminatory laws against gay men and lesbians, the AP reported.
Pillay's plea came Thursday in a
25-page report to the 47-nation U.N. Human Rights Council.
The report arrives on the heels of a
memorandum signed by President Barack Obama that ties
some foreign aid to gay rights and an impassioned speech on gay
rights by Secretary
of State Hillary Clinton at the United Nations offices in Geneva.
“On the basis of the information
presented [in this report], a pattern of human rights violations
emerges that demands a response,” Pillay said. “Governments and
inter-governmental bodies have often overlooked violence and
discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”
Andre Banks, co-founder of global gay
rights group AllOut.org,
praised the move.
“Today the United Nations has sent a
powerful message to member states around the world, echoing what
Hillary Clinton said last week: Gay rights are human rights, and
human rights are gay rights. This groundbreaking report adds major
momentum to the work that LGBT equality advocates are doing
The report, available
here, criticizes Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen
for executing gays and the 76 countries where gay sex remains a
While not endorsing gay marriage –
“states are not required, under international law, to allow
same-sex couples to marry” – the report stressed that a
government's obligation to “protect individuals from discrimination
on the basis of sexual orientation extends to ensuring that unmarried
same-sex couples are treated in the same way and entitled to the same
benefits as unmarried opposite-sex couples.”