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Bahamian Politics Last Updated: Feb 13, 2017 - 1:45:37 AM

United People’s Movement on Bahamas' UN Vote
By The United People's Movement
Jan 3, 2017 - 11:05:15 AM

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United People’s Movement Statement Regarding Bahamas’ UN Vote on Appointment of an Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity January 2nd, 2017:

The United People’s Movement (UPM) condemns to the uttermost the affirmative vote of The Bahamas at the United Nations General Assembly on 19th December, 2016 to support the appointment of an Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. While the laws and customs of The Bahamas clearly support the protection of persons against unlawful violence, the result of that vote was clearly to elevate and equate so called discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity with violence against persons. That is nothing other than a back door attempt by the PLP Government to reject and subvert the will of the Bahamian people as expressed in the Referendum of 7th June, 2016 to not allow the concept of same sex marriages and gay rights to
enter the laws of The Bahamas.

The UPM rejects the contention of the PLP that the vote at the United Nations was “merely a procedural one”. The procedural vote was to reject the recommendation of the representative of Burkina Faso, on behalf of the African Group, to delay the consideration of the recommendations of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council to appoint an Independent Expert (“IE”). Once that recommendation had been defeated with the assistance of The Bahamas, the substantive effect of that procedural vote was to confirm the appointment by the United Nations’ Human Rights Council of Professor Vitit Muntarbhorn as the first UN Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (“SOGI”) on 30th September, 2016.

Professor Muntarbhorn is not an unbiased expert as is evidenced by the fact that he co-chaired the meeting of purported experts from 6 to 9 November, 2006 at which the Yogyakarta Principles were developed to equate sexual rights with human rights and to prohibit all forms of discrimination against persons on the basis of “sexual orientation and gender identity”. Professor Muntarbhorn is clearly a gay rights advocate and his appointment as an Independent Expert is clearly designed to further the gay rights agenda.

Minister Fred Mitchell should not attempt to hide behind obfuscating language to deny that inevitable effect.

Minister Mitchell is also no doubt aware that it was the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), starting in April, 2016, that led the drive to have the United Nations appoint a SOCI IE as is openly stated on the IGLA website.

The ILGA clearly sees Professor Muntarbhorn as an “ally” to their cause and not as an Independent Expert. In the words of Renato Sabbadini Executive Director of the ILGA: “We are really looking forward to working with Professor Muntarbhorn over the coming years.

Never has there been a more urgent need to safeguard the human rights of LGBTI persons around the world. Attacked. Discriminated against, targeted and invibilized, our communities need an ally like Professor Muntarbhorn to ensure that ‘All human beings are born free and
equal in dignity and rights,’ as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights clearly states, is a reality and not a dream”.

The ILGA also notes that Professor Muntarbhorn’s role will include addressing alleged “intersecting” discrimination as its website clearly states that “ILGA is particularly pleased that Mr. Muntarbhorn is tasked with addressing the multiple, intersecting and aggravated forms of violence and discrimination faced by persons in respect of their sexual orientation and gender identity – an approach that matter deeply to our communities.”

That reference is important because “intersectionality” is the concept that was created and promulgated by the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in October, 2010 at paragraph 18 of its General Recommendation No. 28 on the Core Obligations of States Parties under Article 2 of the Convention, and which had the effect of converting CEDAW into a gay rights organization. As Minister Mitchell well knows, paragraph 18 of General Recommendation 28 states that “Intersectionality is a basic concept for
understanding the scope of the general obligations of States parties contained in article 2. The discrimination of women based on sex and gender is inextricably linked with other factors that affect women, such as … sexual orientation and gender identity.”

The UPM rejects the actions of the PLP Government in supporting the appointment of Professor Muntarbhorn as an Independent Expert as being an affront to the Christian values and culture of the Bahamian people and to their sound rejection of the gay rights agenda in the June, 2016 Referendum.

The UPM also rejects the insidious attempt by Minister Mitchell to clothe the PLP’s embrace of the gay rights agenda in the language of the preamble to the Bahamian Constitution and in our Christian values. His statement that “Christian values include decrying any action which would support violence, discrimination, bigotry or intolerance against people of every stripe without distinction” shows how far he and the PLP Government are from Biblical principles in responding to the gay agenda. While the UPM rejects unlawful violence in every form against
all people, including people in the LGBT community, it also rejects the attempt to label Christian values and the Christian rejection of the gay agenda as being discriminatory, bigoted or intolerant.

While the UPM accepts that all consenting adults are free to express their sexuality as they wish in private, we maintain the God given and constitutional rights of all Bahamians to enjoy their religious freedom, inclusive of the expression of their faith and the rejection of those things which God has ordained as being sins and abominations, without fear of any form of legal or constitutional restriction or consequences whatsoever.

A UPM Government will respect and defend the Christian values of the Bahamian people, will defend the constitutional rights of the Bahamian people to express their Christian faith, will maintain the sanctity of marriage as only being between a natural born male and a natural born female and will maintain those positions both within The Bahamas and internationally.

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