During a speech at the United Nations, François Holland, president of France, called for a global decriminalization of homosexuality.
In an unprecedented speech addressed to the General Assembly of the United Nations, the French president, François Holland called for a global decriminalization of homosexuality.
This is the first time a head of state has spoken out on homosexuality at the United Nation’s General Assembly.
The historic 15 minute appeal was made yesterday (25 September), during which Hollande said France must lead the United Nations fight for ‘fundamental [human] freedoms, which is not merely its fight but its honour’.
‘This is the reason for which France will continue to conduct all these struggles: for the abolition of the death penalty, for women's rights to equality and dignity, for the universal decriminalization of homosexuality, which should not be recognised as a crime but, on the contrary, recognised as a [sexual] orientation.
'All members countries have the obligation to guarantee the security of their citizens, and if one nation adheres to this obligation, it is then imperative that we, the United Nations, facilitate the necessary means to make that guarantee.
'These are the issues that France will lead and defend in the United Nations. I say this with seriousness. When there is paralysis, inertion and inaction, then injustice and intolerance can find their place.
'What I want this assembly to understand, is that we need to react, to take our responsibility … always react for sake of the people, together, this is the message of France.’
A French diplomat told Reuters if France does not hesitate to carry the torch for the universal abolition of the death penalty, then François Hollande’s commitment to gay rights at the UN is an important signal.
Some commentators speculated France will now lead a world-wide struggle to decriminalize homosexuality as called for by the French human rights advocate, Louis-Goerges Tin, who recently went on a hunger strike for this cause.
Homosexuality is still a criminal offence in many member countries of the United Nations, and subject to capital punishment in eight, including Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Sudan and Mauritania.