Statements

Friday 19 December 2008
Statement by the Holy See Delegation 63rd session of the United Nations General Assembly Item 64 (b): Human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms: report of the Third Committee. New York, 19 December 2008
Statement by the Holy See Delegation   63rd session of the United Nations General Assembly   Item 64 (b): Human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms: report of the Third Committee. New York, 19 December 2008The Holy See appreciates the attempts made in the Statement on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity –presented at the UN General Assembly on 18 December 2008- to condemn all forms of violence against homosexual persons as well as urge States to take necessary measures to put an end to all criminal penalties against them. At the same time, the Holy See notes that the wording of this Statement goes well beyond the above mentioned and shared intent. In particular, the categories ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity’, used in the text, find no recognition or clear and agreed definition in international law. If they had to be taken into consideration in the proclaiming and implementing of fundamental rights, these would create serious uncertainty in the law as well as undermine the ability of States to enter into and enforce new and existing human rights conventions and standards. Despite the Statement’s rightful condemnation of and protection from all forms of violence against homosexual persons, the document, when considered in its entirety, goes beyond this goal and instead gives rise to uncertainty in the law and challenges existing human rights norms. The Holy See continues to advocate that every sign of unjust discrimination towards homosexual persons should be avoided and urges States to do away with criminal penalties against them.