The BBC is reporting this morning that Sixty-six countries at the United Nations have called for homosexuality to be decriminalised. However 60 more countries rejected the claim stating it should be down to individual nations. There’s been a lot of celebration and discussion about the UN Declaration on Human Rights in the last couple of weeks (which celebrated 60 years last week) but news stories such as this must surely remind us how utterly ineffectual the UN remains in many areas of human rights. We are not talking about gay marriage/partnerships/unions, adoption rights, IVF rights, anti-discrimination laws, age of consent laws, unequal censorship laws; rather, we are talking about de-criminalising homosexuality. Preventing states from banging someone in a cell because of their sexuality.
All that said, it’s easy for us to forget that in the UK homosexuality was only de-criminalised in England and Wales in 1967, Scotland in 1980 and Northern Ireland in 1982 so from the perspective of those states (more often than not Arab or African) that now resit moves to bring in such a measure, western nationals are hardly approaching this issue with clean hands. That so called ‘leader of the free world’, America, is hardly a shining beacon of gay rights.