Last week the United Nations Human Rights Council voted to condemn countries who use the death penalty on gay people. 13 countries voted against the resolution including the United States.

The Trump administration has now been defending that choice, after a storm of criticism.

The US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert yesterday clarified their position.

She says the ‘no’ vote was because of broader concerns around criticizing countries ‘lawfully using the death penalty.’

Further adding, ‘the US unequivocally condemns the use of the death penalty for homosexuality, blasphemy, adultery, and apostasy.’

This is something Adré du Plessis, the Head of UN Programme and Advocacy at ILGA explained to GSN when we reported the vote earlier this week:

‘The United States has the death penalty and a consistent record of voting “no” on resolutions against it.’

Essentially explaining, it is important to see the United State’s ‘no’ vote is on the wider application of death penalty – rather than the issue of consensual same-sex relationships.

The US ambassador to the UN Human Rights Council Nikki Hayley was ‘disappointed’ to vote for the resolution. In the early hours of the morning today, she took her frustrations with some of the media coverage to Twitter:

Criticism on US-UN ‘no’ vote continues to roll in

However, this didn’t prevent human rights organizations and prominent politicians criticising the decision.

Director at the Human Rights Campaign Ty Cobb says:

‘Ambassador Haley has failed the LGBTQ community by not standing up against the barbaric use of the death penalty to punish individuals in same-sex relationships.’

Continuing in a statement on their website, he adds: ‘While the U.N. Human Rights Council took this crucially important step, the Trump/Pence administration failed to show leadership on the world stage. This administration’s blatant disregard for human rights and LGBTQ lives around the world is beyond disgraceful.’

Former U.S. UN ambassador Susan Rice also condemned the decision:

Being gay is still punishable by death in six countries including Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen.

Although not countrywide, there are also parts of Nigeria and Somalia where the death penalty is in use against LGBTI people too.

Meanwhile, gay people are also being killed in so-called ISIS-held territories in Northern Iraq and Northern Syria. Via GSN