UN urged to unite for gay rights

  • 14/06/2016
Part of the annual Gay Pride Parade in Warsaw, Poland, June 11, 2016 (AAP)
Part of the annual Gay Pride Parade in Warsaw, Poland, June 11, 2016 (AAP)

The United States has appealed for the United Nations to unite to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, not just express outrage over a massacre in a Florida nightclub in which 49 people were killed.

Being gay is a crime in at least 74 countries, the UN has said.

"If we are united in our outrage by the killing of so many - and we are - let us be equally united around the basic premise of upholding the universal dignity of all persons regardless of who they love, not just around condemning the terrorists who kill them," Deputy US Ambassador David Pressman said

A shooter pledging allegiance to the radical group Islamic State (IS) carried out the deadliest mass shooting in US history on Sunday at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

Rights organisations have accused IS militants of killing dozens of gay men by throwing them from buildings or stoning them.

Pressman noted that there was just one General Assembly resolution referencing "sexual orientation" and "gender identity", a resolution that urged states to protect the right to life of all persons and investigate killings.

He said every year "there is a pitched fight over whether it is appropriate to include sexual orientation in that protection".

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has long advocated for gay rights, but has faced opposition from African, Arab and Muslim states, as well as from Russia and China.

He has also condemned the Orlando attack.

In 2014, Ban announced the United Nations would recognise all same-sex marriages of its staff, allowing them to receive UN benefits.

Russia unsuccessfully tried to overturn the move last year, with Saudi Arabia, China, Iran, India, Egypt, Pakistan, and Syria among 43 states that supported Moscow.