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UN urges talk, not sanctions, against anti-gay laws

Rolando Gomez, spokesman of U.N. Human Rights Council
Rolando Gomez, spokesman of U.N. Human Rights Council

The United Nations wants countries to be persuaded to repeal anti-gay laws, but doesn’t want them to be forced to do so through sanctions.

Rolando Gomez, spokesman for the U.N.’s Human Rights Council, made that statement in response to a question about Malawi, which has been threatened with a cut-off of some international aid because of its laws against same-sex sexual activity. As reported in The Daily Times in Malawi, he said:

“It is not the wish of U.N. to have donors come up with sanctions towards different countries as an enforcement measure towards human rights adherences. As UN we believe in dialogue, consultation and negotiation. We provide space because some countries have genuine arguments depending on what they believe in.

“This is why as UN we only advise and come up with our recommendations and resolutions, this is how far we can go.”

In contrast, Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom last year threatened to trim aid to countries that don’t change their anti-homosexuality laws.

“British aid should have more strings attached,” he told the BBC. He said:

“This is an issue where we are pushing for movement, we are prepared to put some money behind what we believe. But I’m afraid that you can’t expect countries to change overnight.

“Britain is one of the premier aid givers in the world. We want to see countries that receive our aid adhering to proper human rights.”

Malawi has already had some of its British aid suspended because of its anti-gay attitude, the BBC reported last year.

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at info@76crimes.com. Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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