Today we celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the landmark document outlining the basic rights that every person on this planet should be entitled to. As a humanist, the Declaration embodies a lot of my core beliefs and principles based on rational thinking and compassion for all human beings. There will be many celebrations, vigils and events taking place throughout the world to attest to the importance and relevance of this document even today. If you want to join in, Amnesty International have suggestions and information as to events and actions you can take.
However, I’d also like to ask you to spare a thought for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community. Today, on this anniversay of human rights, the United Nations General Assembly will consider a declaration calling for the global decriminalisation of homsexuality. Despite sixty years of the human rights declaration this will be the first time that the UN General Assembly has considered LGBT human rights. The declaration will be tabled by France and is backed by all twenty-seven EU states, sponsored by Canada and supported by many other countries as well. Opposition comes mainly from religious groups and religious states. Individuals in the LGBT community face discrimination and persecution solely on the grounds of their sexual preferences and their capacity for love. Human rights apply to all human beings and no individual or group should be considered exempt from this. If you want to read more about the declaration, member state positions and current attitudes and criminalisation of homosexuality I recommend the recent article written by Peter Tatchell on the Guardian’s Comment is Free website.