Islamic governments are expected to join with the Vatican in protesting against a French-backed declaration in the UN General Assembly that calls for
the decriminalisation of homosexuality worldwide.
Rama Yade, France's secretary of state for human rights, will visit Manhattan this week to throw her weight behind a statement supported by dozens of nations that blasts the outlawing of certain types of sexual behaviour.
The 13-point declaration urges states to ensure that sexual orientation or gender identity may under no circumstances be the basis for criminal penalties, in particular executions, arrests or detention.
While the controversial document is not binding in international law, it has provoked hostile responses from leaders of religiously conservative nations that regard homosexuality as sinful.
Margaret Awino-Kafeero, a diplomat from Uganda's mission to the UN, which currently chairs Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) meetings at the world body, said many Muslim governments rejected the declaration.
OIC delegates have discussed the gay-friendly statement and agreed that governments choosing to prosecute homosexual behaviour should object to the declaration independently.
The OIC decided it will be each individual country's decision, Awino-Kafeero said.
The declaration indirectly criticises more than 80 countries in which homosexuality is punishable by law.
The Vatican's permanent observer to the UN has already revealed Holy See opposition to the statement, which is still being drafted and carries the support of 56 countries.
Archbishop Celestino Migliore said the Vatican opposed the resolution because it would add new categories of those protected from discrimination and could lead to reverse discrimination against traditional heterosexual marriage.
France's declaration is backed by EU members and has won support from non-western countries, such as Ecuador and Uruguay as well as two OIC members, Gabon and Guinea-Bissau.
In an atmosphere where Turkey is being criticized for the slow pace of its EU reforms, the country refuses to sign a declaration calling all states to take steps to stop the criminalization of homosexuality, contradicting its commitments to the EU in
promoting human rights
Turkey breaks company with EU in gay vote Turkey refused to sign a European Union-led declaration presented last week at the United Nations calling all states to take steps to stop the criminalization of homosexuality. The move contradicted Turkey's
commitments to the EU to promote human rights for all without any discrimination.
The Vatican envoy to the Netherlands has been called to a meeting to defend the Catholic teaching on sexuality and marriage by the Dutch
Foreign Affairs Minister.
At the request of homosexualist activist groups, Maxime Verhagen, a Christian Democrat, has demanded that the Papal Nuncio to the Netherlands, Monsignor Fran็ois Bacqu้, respond to accusations that the Church opposes gay rights.
Verhagen said, The Netherlands is unpleasantly surprised by the opposition of Pope Benedict XVI to a UN declaration on human rights and homosexuality.
Verhagen noted that although there were points of agreement with the Vatican statements, the judgments of the Pope on homosexuality are cause for concern because they are unnecessarily offensive, as can be seen, and do not contribute to a
In December, the Vatican was attacked in the international press for refusing to endorse the UN motion claiming to decriminalise homosexuality. The motion, which is not legally binding, was introduced by Verhagen and by his colleagues from France,
and has been signed by only 66 of the UN’s 192 member states. Thus far, although the United States, Russia, China, Guatemala, El Salvador and some African countries have also refused to endorse the resolution, only the representative of the Vatican
has been publicly called on the carpet by Verhagen.
The Obama administration will overturn a George Bush policy and endorse a UN declaration calling for the worldwide decriminalization of homosexuality
US officials said they had notified the declaration's French sponsors that the administration wants to be added as a supporter. The Bush administration was criticized in December when it was the only western government that refused to sign on.
The move was made after an interagency review of the Bush administration's position on the nonbinding document, which was signed by all 27 European Union members as well as Japan, Australia, Mexico and three dozen other countries, the officials said.
When it was voted on in December, 66 of the U.N.'s 192 member countries signed the declaration — which backers called a historic step to push the General Assembly to deal more forthrightly with anti-gay discrimination.
But 70 U.N. members outlaw homosexuality — and in several, homosexual acts can be punished by execution. More than 50 nations, including members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, opposed the declaration. The declaration was also opposed by
Online videos, pictures, posts and other content may soon find itself censored in South Africa. This is
if the Film and Publications Board has its way in implementing its online censorshop policy aimed at intermet content distributed in South Africa.
The draft policy, gazetted for public comment, requires distributors to have digital content classified in terms of the board's guidelines. Producers of content would have to apply for classification before their content would be made available online.
A prescribed fee from R450 (£25) will be imposed upon applying for an online distribution agreement, with an expected turnaround time of 10 days for classification.
The FPB claimed it was concerned about children being exposed to unclassified content accessed through the internet and other mobile platforms.
Chief censor Sipho Risiba said distribution channels also had the responsibility to look out for unclassified content which may have any of the flagged elements guiding the board. He added that user-generated content was a problem leading to the
prevalence of offensive content such as racism, sexual, school violence videos and posts that may entice imitative acts. He claimed:
Distributors and internet service providers were not yet playing their part in warding off sex offenders and racists from their platforms.
The board will go on a national public consultation road show between April and May to allow the public to give inputs on the policy.