On November 2010, the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly voted to remove a reference to sexual orientation from a key resolution condemning extrajudicial killings. For the past ten years, the Resolution on Extrajudicial, Summary, and Arbitrary Executions has urged states to “to investigate promptly and thoroughly… all killings committed for any discriminatory reason, including sexual orientation.” The amendment removing the reference to sexual orientation was adopted with79 votes in favor, 70 against, 17 abstentions and 26 absent. The Philippines was among the seventeen states that abstained.
Today, December 21, 2010, the UN General Assembly will vote on a motion to restore “sexual orientation” in the text of the resolution. The following is a letter from the Filipino Freethinkers urging the Philippine government to uphold the rights of Filipino lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender (LGBTs) by voting to restore the reference to sexual orientation.
21 December 2010
H.E. President BENIGNO C. AQUINO III
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES
HON. ALBERTO G. ROMULO
Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs
H.E. (Mr.) Libran N. Cabactulan
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations
556 5th Avenue
New York, NY
We, the members of the Filipino Freethinkers, are writing to you as allies of the Filipino lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community and advocates of equal rights for LGBTs. We urge you to vote for restoration of the category sexual orientation in the Resolution on Extrajudicial Summary, and Arbitrary Executions.
In the Philippines and all over the world, LGBTs continue to be victims of abuse and extrajudicial killing. In 2010 alone, the non-government organization Rainbow Rights Project, Inc. (R-Rights) reported 11 documented cases of local killings based on actual or perceived sexual orientation. Given the lack of policies against discrimination and hate crimes, it is highly probable that many more cases go undocumented and unnoticed. Overseas Filipino workers are also vulnerable to torture and killing based on actual or perceived sexual orientation, especially in countries where consensual same-sex behaviour is deemed criminal. By abstaining from the previous vote on the amendment to the resolution, the Philippine government has turned a blind eye to the realities faced by Filipino LGBTs.
All too often, these grave violations of human rights are motivated by an irrational hatred of sexual minorities, or committed in the name of religious fundamentalism. As advocates of reason, science, and secularism, we condemn these forms of human rights violations, and we urge you to do the same. We believe that hate crimes and killings on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity—whether or not they are based on religious dogma—should have no place in a state that has committed to promote, uphold, and protect human rights for all. We implore you to vote to restore the reference to sexual orientation in the text of the resolution on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary killings.