United Nations, Jun 14: The UN Security Council today unanimously condemned in the "strongest terms" America's worst mass shooting incident at Orlando targetting people on the basis of their sexual orientation.
It was the first time that the UN's most powerful body made an explicit reference to targeting of individuals as a result of their sexual orientation.
The 15-member council reiterated that "any" act of terrorism is "criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed". In a press statement, it "condemned in the strongest terms" the terrorist attack in Orlando "targeting persons as a result of their sexual orientation" that killed 49 people and injured 53.
The unanimous condemnation came after some haggling with Russia and Egypt over a reference to the targeting of gays. The members of the Security Council also "reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security", according to the statement.
Highlighting the difficulty in getting the UN member states to condemn attacks against persons due to their sexual orientation, Washington's envoy to the UN said there is a "pitched fight" over the appropriateness of including "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" in UN resolutions.
Ambassador David Pressman, Alternate Representative to the UN for Special Political Affairs in the US Mission to the UN made a strong call to the UN member sates to come together to ensure dignity to all.
"Dignity should not be so hard to protect. Here, it too often is. In this chamber, every time it is up for consideration, there is a pitched fight over the inclusion of "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" in the one General Assembly resolution that references it a resolution, I would note, that does nothing more than urges states to protect the right to life of all persons and investigate killings; there is a pitched fight over whether it is appropriate to include sexual orientation in that protection," he said.
Pressman added that the UN Security Council finds itself "constantly battling to incorporate the voices of the LGBT community in the vital work of this body".
"If we are united in our outrage by the killing of so many and we are let us be equally united around the basic premise of upholding the universal dignity of all persons regardless of who they love, not just around condemning the terrorists who kill them," he said.
Following the press statement, the French mission to the UN tweeted: "1st time UNSC has condemned all terrorist acts targeting persons as a result of their sexual orientation #LoveWins."
The New Zealand mission also tweeted that "UNSC condemns in strongest terms the terrorist attacks in Orlando where people were targeted because of their sexual orientation".