Organization Of American States Approves LGBT Human Rights Resolution

Flag of the Organization of American States CREDIT: SHUTTERSTOCK/JIRI FLOGEL
Flag of the Organization of American States CREDIT: SHUTTERSTOCK/JIRI FLOGEL

The Organization of American States (OAS), a coalition that establishes solidarity across all North and South American countries, concluded its General Assembly meeting on Thursday in Asunción, Paraguay by approving an LGBT human rights resolution. According to All Out, the resolution was sponsored by Brazil and co-sponsored by Argentina, Uruguay, the United States, and Colombia.

According to the resolution, the OAS condemns “all forms of discrimination against persons by reason of their sexual orientation and gender identity or expression” and urges all member states to adopt “public policies against discrimination.” It also encourages states to “produce data on homophobic and transphobic violence” that can inform public policies to protect LGBT people.

The resolution draws specific attention to intersex people, those whose sex does not fit the typical definitions of female or male. It encourages member states to “afford appropriate protection” to intersex people and “to implement policies and procedures, as appropriate, to ensure medical practices” that protect their human rights. It is still common practice in may places for doctors to to perform gender assignment surgery on infants born intersex to force them into one gender or another, procedures that can sterilize them and assign an incorrect gender identity.

The vote follows a petition by All Out and protests by LGBT activists in Asunción this week. At least 10 activists were injured when Paraguayan police clashed with the LGBT groups Somosgay and Lesvos, who were protesting President Horacio Cartés’ opposition to the declaration.

The resolution does not reflect the current status of LGBT rights in the Americas. Only Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Uruguay, and parts of the U.S. and Mexico allow for same-sex couples to legally marry. Numerous countries, including Belize, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, and several of the island nations have no LGBT nondiscrimination protections whatsoever.