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Ingham urges UN to protect rights of gays and lesbians.

The United Nations should take "decisive action to support an end to the persecution and mistreatment of people on the basis of their sexual orientation" and must work to extend the application of the UN Declaration on Human Rights to all persons, including gay, lesbian and transgendered persons, Bishop Michael Ingham, of the diocese of New Westminster, has urged.

In a speech that was to have been delivered March 29 before the UN Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) in Geneva, Bishop Ingham said that religion has been "one of the principle obstacles to homosexual rights throughout the world."

Bishop Ingham was unable to make his presentation following a decision by the UNCHR to suspend its 60th and final session after only three hours of what was scheduled to have been a six-week session. The UN General Assembly had voted last March to replace the commission with a new Human Rights Council, following intense lobbying by the United States and other countries that questioned its inclusion of countries with poor human rights records.

Bishop Ingham was to have joined Jewish and Muslim presenters before the UNCHR; their presentations were arranged by the International Gay and Lesbian Association (IGLA), which had been meeting in Geneva in tandem with the commission.

"Sources in the UN have told the IGLA organizers that the ostensive reason for the premature suspension is that the commission's mandate is finished, but the real reason is that the U.S. has put pressure on the UN to cancel the remaining session because they don't want to answer questions about the treatment of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay," Bishop Ingham told the Anglican Journal in an e-mail. "The U.S. doesn't want its own human rights record questioned at the UN."
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Title Annotation:CANADA
Author:Sison, Marites N.
Publication:Anglican Journal
Date:May 1, 2006
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