Russia has successfully sponsored a resolution at the United Nations supporting traditional values .
The considerations arising from the resolution were interesting and in most instances valid. (see below)
The United States which supports the concept that Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) have “rights” to indulge in activities such as those discussed in the “ Hard Cell Playroom” : http://www.hardcell.org.uk/playroom.htm voted against the resolution.
This Blog does not accept that there are “rights” to the activities of the Hard Cell Playroom
Action on Resolution on Promoting Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms through a Better Understanding of Traditional Values of Humankind: Best Practices
In a resolution (A/HRC/21/L2) regarding the promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms through a better understanding of traditional values of humankind: best practices, adopted by a vote of 25 in favour, 15 against and 7 abstentions, the Council reaffirms that a better understanding and appreciation of traditional values shared by all humanity and embodied in universal human rights instruments contributes to promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms worldwide; recalls the important role of family, community, society and educational institutions in upholding and transmitting these values; stresses that human rights derive from the dignity and worth inherent in the human person; notes that traditional values can be practically applied, particularly in human rights education; takes note of recommendation 9/4 of the Advisory Committee on the progress of work on a study on how a better understanding and appreciation of traditional values of dignity, freedom and responsibility can contribute to the promotion and protection of human rights, and decides to accord it additional time to finalize the study; and requests the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to collect information from the United Nations Member States and other relevant stakeholders on the best practices of applying traditional values while promoting and protecting human rights and upholding human dignity.
The result of the vote was as follows:
In favour (25):Angola, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, China, Congo, Cuba, Djibouti, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Thailand, and Uganda.
Against (15):Austria, Belgium, Botswana, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Mauritius, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Romania, Spain, Switzerland, and United States.
Abstentions (7):Benin, Chile, Guatemala, Nigeria, Peru, Republic of Moldova, and Uruguay.
Russia, introducing draft resolution L.2, said that the text was based on all the provisions of the United Nations Charter and instruments of human rights, and particularly noted human rights as the source of human dignity, and that States had to fulfil their obligations to promote the universal respect and observance of fundamental freedoms for all. Unfortunately the Advisory Committee of the Council had not been able to prepare a report because of the lack of time. Therefore the draft resolution contained an instruction to the Advisory Committee to complete this work. Furthermore, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights was instructed to collect information on examples of positive practice and submit this information to the Council. The position of a number of countries that responded with rejection, even some aggression, was a surprise. Human rights had to serve as an instrument for unification and not division of the Council and there should be a spirit of partnership. No single country or group of countries should monopolise norms in the area of human rights. Russia, on behalf of the co-sponsors of the draft resolution, called on all Members of the Council to support the initiative and vote in favour.
Norway, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on draft resolution L.2, said that the draft resolution failed to recognise that so-called traditional values could also be used to justify human rights violations and abuses. Traditions and values changed over time and, while some of them were in accordance with human rights, some where not. There was no internationally agreed definition on what traditional values meant. In fact, traditional values could also undermine the human rights of some groups, such as in the case of slavery and servitude, violence against women, female genital mutilation, and violence against vulnerable groups. For these reasons, Norway called for a vote on the draft resolution.
Maldives, in an explanation of the vote before the vote on draft resolution L.2, said it believed in the universality of human rights, beyond cultures and civilisations. Human rights were a fundamental part of human beings regardless of where they lived. Maldives would not accept any moves towards relativism in human rights or anything that would suggest that human rights were anything but universal and interrelated.
United States, in an explanation of the vote before the vote on draft resolution L.2, warned that the concept of traditional values that was not anchored in international law undermined the principles of international instruments, such as the Universal Declaration, and could have negative effects on the rights of women, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons, and other minority groups. For this reason the United States would vote against the draft resolution. There was no internationally agreed definition on the meaning of traditional values and, as the Advisory Committee recognised, this concept could be used to justify human rights abuses. The draft resolution selectively quoted from the report of the Advisory Committee and did not take into account some of its key elements, such as references to the fact that some human rights derived from traditional values and that in some cases those profiting from the status quo were more likely to appeal to tradition.
Austria, in an explanation of the vote before the vote and on behalf of the European Union, said that the European Union continuously stressed that there was no agreed upon definition of traditional values nor of its link with human rights. The vagueness and subjectivity of the notion of traditional values could be used to undermine human rights and justify human rights violations, and went against the principle that human rights were the same everywhere and at all times. Some traditional values clearly conflicted with human rights. That had been underlined by United Nations treaty bodies and by the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee. As long as the resolution would not refer to human rights violations based on traditional values, the European Union would oppose it. The European Union Member States who were members of the Council would vote against the resolution.
Chile, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that nothing could relativise fundamental human rights, as acknowledged in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action. States were bound to promote and protect all human rights and to ensure that traditional values in opposition with human rights were eradicated. Chile was concerned that the concept of traditional values was not clearly defined and could therefore lead to human rights violations. The resolution before the Council today did not contribute to address human rights violations and to eradicate traditional values that were against human rights. Chile would abstain on the resolution, and would only re-evaluate its position when the notion of traditional values would be defined more clearly and in a way that would not be in opposition with the universality of human rights.
Uruguay, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that the international community should treat human rights comprehensively and in a just and equitable manner, noting their universality and indivisibility. It was clear that States were duty-bound to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms. This resolution, in Uruguay’s opinion, had two problems. Editorially, it did not take expressed account of the problem solved in resolution 16/03, entrusting the Council’s Advisory Committee with a study on the matter. This study had not yet been finalised. From a substantive point, the preliminary report of the Advisory Committee underscored that there was no agreed definition of the term traditional values of humanity. Uruguay would abstain in the vote.
Peru, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that the debate on the relation between traditional values of humanity and human rights generated a variety of opinions partly because of a lack of definitions. Values and traditions were varied and complex. While some were compatible with human rights, others were clearly in conflict with or undermined them. It was necessary to continue to give thought to the matter, in order to define the negative and positive effects of traditional values in effectively implementing all human rights, and Peru considered that the Advisory Committee could make an important contribution in that connection. Nobody could invoke cultural diversity and traditional values to violate human rights and fundamental freedoms recognized by international law.
Guatemala, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on draft resolution L.2, reiterated its commitment to the universality of human rights. This represented a common and shared vision of human rights. Guatemala could not accept any kind of relativism and was concerned that the issue behind the draft resolution would divide the Council and the Advisory Committee, which had noted that it would continue to work on this topic and would report to the Council in 2013. Such a division would not contribute to the promotion and protection of human rights around the world. Guatemala would abstain until a full report of the Advisory Committee was received and would not accept any concept that would undermine the universality of human rights or relativize their implementation.
China, in a general comment on draft resolution L.2, regretted that the Secretariat did not notice China in time to make a general comment and requested that the statement would be kept in the record as part of the general discussion. China reiterated the importance of respecting the universality of human rights, and of recognising the different cultures, religious beliefs, and history of each country. One model of human rights could not be said to be better than others and the international community should respect the right of each country to respect human rights according to their specific cultural, historical and religious backgrounds. China believed that in order to better understand traditional values of humankind, education in traditional values was valuable and that efforts to improve the awareness of the general public concerning traditional values would be conducive to the promotion and protection of human rights. Therefore China would vote in favour of the draft resolution.