St. Lucia's Minister Counsellor articulates position on Draft Resolution on Extrajudicial Summary or Arbitrary Executions
Contact: Min. of External Affairs
Wednesday 12 January 2011 – On November 16, 2010, the United Nations Third Committee engaged in debate on the Draft Resolution on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, and ultimately approved - by a vote of 79 in favour to 70 against with 17 abstentions - an amendment removing “sexual orientation” as one of the discriminatory reasons that killings had been committed and warranted investigation.
In its address to the Committee (prior to the vote on this amendment), Saint Lucia stated that listing specific groups was dangerous because it could lead to legal manipulation by following the letter of the law in an unintended way, and the omission of some people and groups.
Speaking on behalf of the African Group - the main sponsor of the amendment - the representative of Benin said that sexual orientation had no legal foundation in any international human rights instruments and there was no legal justification to highlight it. Other proponents of the amendment, such as Morocco asserted that selectivity should be avoided because it accommodated particular interests and groups over others. South Africa proposed that a formal process to define sexual orientation and its parameters under human rights law was needed to prevent future division on the issue.
Amendment to Draft Resolution L.29/Rev.1
Statement before the Vote by Sarah Flood-Beaubrun Minister Counsellor
Saint Lucia recognizes the importance of this resolution. We underscore our commitment to the protection and defense of human life, and the recognition of the dignity of each and every person. In light of this, we reaffirm our commitment to prompt and unbiased investigation in all matters involving the killing of a human person, and our commitment to vigilance in the practice of governance, so that all persons have equal rights and protection under the law.
We would have preferred that OP6 of the resolution was drafted without listing specific groups. The reason for this is clear: lists always run the danger of leaving a specific action or group unspecified and so allow for misinterpretation in the following of that which is listed. This can lead to legal manipulation which often attempts to avoid the spirit of the law by following the letter of the law in an unintended way.
In this resolution a further difficulty arises: in an attempt to list a series of vulnerable groups of individuals, undefined terminology within the international community is used. In order to ensure that all individuals receive equal protection under the law, and in order to eliminate legal opportunity for the justification of specific discriminatory or violent behavior, it is imperative that all terms used are clear and unequivocal.
The term “discriminatory reasons on any basis” as proposed by the African Amendment is comprehensive. It encompasses various claims that we can predict and that we cannot predict and ensures the judicial protection of all persons.
For these reasons Saint Lucia will vote in favour of the amendment proposed by the African Group.
I thank you.
November 16, 2010
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