NewsThu Sep 24, 2009 - 12:15 pm EST
UN Official Oversteps Mandate to Back “Gay Pride” Event in Serbia
By Susan Yoshihara, Ph.D.
September 24, 2009 (C-FAM) - The head of the United Nations (UN) mission in Serbia recently promoted a highly controversial homosexual rights demonstration in Belgrade against public opposition and beyond his mandate to work “closely with national governments” to “advocate the interests and mandates of the UN.”
UN Resident Coordinator William Infante backed a “gay pride” parade scheduled for September 20th, an event that Serbs have rejected since the last time it was orchestrated in 2001. According to the Associated Press (AP), the organizers canceled the march rather than accept the government’s offer of an alternative route, which was a response to concerns about its ability to provide adequate security due to rising public opposition to the event. Infante’s advocacy for the ill-fated event has angered groups which are concerned about the increasing pressure on Serbia from the UN and European institutions to adopt a radical homosexual agenda that goes well beyond justifiable protections against discrimination.
Conservative UN watchers were also alarmed that the resident coordinator, who is “the designated representative of the Secretary-General for development operations” according to the UN, took an official position contrary to the consensus of UN member states which have repeatedly rejected inclusion of “sexual orientation and gender identity” among accepted categories of anti-discrimination in any binding UN human rights document.
Despite the fact that UN members have rejected the idea, Infante nonetheless suggested that the special category already exists when advocated for the event along with his counterpart from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Infante stated: "It is very important for all nations to protect all people from discrimination. Human rights are universal and inalienable to all, and these two principles of universality and non-discrimination must be upheld." at a recent meeting Infante has also cited a recent poll backed by the EU and UN Development Program (UNDP) to suggest that Serbs were willing to embrace a broad view of “anti-discrimination,” but close examination of the poll reveals that nearly forty percent of Serbs are concerned about the protection of their children and the “bad example” that may be set by promoting homosexuality in Serbian society.
Serbia has come under intense pressure from the EU and activist NGOs to liberalize laws and policies regarding family and sexuality. Even though no binding UN treaty even mentions sexual orientation or homosexuality, the powerful human rights NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) sent a letter to the Serbian vice prime minister claiming that Serbia had to adopt the controversial legislation or be in violation of its obligations under the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). HRW rested its argument on the fact that the committee tasked with monitoring the treaty, “affirmed … that sexual orientation is a ground protected against discrimination,” but the committee has no authority to interpret the treaty, and only has a mandate to monitor compliance.
Infante only recently took up his UN post in Serbia. He worked in Serbia from 2001 to 2004 as director of the US Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Economic Policy and Finance Office under the name William S. Foerderer
(This article reprinted with permission from www.c-fam.org)