People gathered in the state capitol rotunda on December 10, 2008 to hear Governor Steven Beshear's proclamation of Kentucky Human Rights Day on the 60th anniversary of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
Today, December 18, 2008 the United Nations General Assembly will hear a critical statement on gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender rights. The statement, endorsed by more than 50 countries across the globe calling for an end to rights abuses based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
"In 1948 the world's nations set forth the promise of human rights, but six decades later, the promise remains unfulfilled for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered community," stated Jordan Palmer, president of Kentucky Equality Federation, a member of the International Lesbian and Gay Association since 2006.
Kentucky Equality Federation issued an action alert (click here to view it) earlier this month urging Kentucky citizens to contact the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, as well as the U.S. Department of State to support the statement.
As a member organization, Kentucky Equality Federation represents the International Lesbian and Gay Association ("ILGA") in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Composed of over 600 member organizations around the world, ILGA is to this day the only international non-profit and non-governmental community-based federation dedicated to achieving equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people at the United Nations.
The draft statement condemns violence, harassment, discrimination, exclusion, stigmatization, and prejudice based on sexual orientation and gender identity. It also condemns killings and executions, torture, arbitrary arrest, and deprivation of economic, social, and cultural rights on those grounds.
So far, 55 countries have signed onto the General Assembly statement, including: Andorra, Armenia, Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Cape Verde, the Central African Republic, Chile, Ecuador, Georgia, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Montenegro, New Zealand, San Marino, Serbia, Switzerland, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Uruguay, and Venezuela. All 27 member states of the European Union are also signatories. The United States however, has yet to commit itself to the statement.
United Nations treaty bodies have called on states to end discrimination in law and policy. "It is appalling that the United States of America, the only superpower in the world, currently has no laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, nor does the Commonwealth of Kentucky," stated Palmer. "We are very proud however, and grateful that Governor Beshear issued an executive order prohibiting discrimination in Kentucky government, and that the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights finally has a gay member."
If you want to watch it live on December 18, 2008: http://www.un.org/webcast (Select the General Assembly picture below the screen)
- Print the agenda http://www.un.org/ga/third/63/ac363infdoc.pdf
You can also come back to the site the following days and look for agenda item 64(b) in the archived video for December 18, 2008: http://www.un.org/webcast/2008.html