Member States of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) were caught off guard in a meeting in Helsinki, Finland last week. They were expecting to discuss crimes motivated by racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and religious intolerance. Instead the OSCE staff presented them with a draft of a soon-to-be-published document that includes repeated references to “homophobia” and “transphobia.”Sources inside the meeting told the Friday Fax that while the public portion of the meetings stayed on the agreed topics of racism, xenophobia and religious intolerance, working group sessions revealed serious concerns on the part of participating States over the draft document’s overwhelming focus on homosexual rights. Member States reminded the OSCE that it has no mandate to discuss “homophobia” or “transphobia” and that the OSCE ministerial council had previously rejected these issues as part of the organization’s hate crimes mandate. [“Transphobia is a new term that the cultural left uses to refer to discrimination against those who have undergone sex change operations or are otherwise confused about their sex.]
Thirty-eight states participated in the two-day expert-level meeting, which was organized by the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights to facilitate hate crimes data collection between member countries and the OSCE.
One of the primary objectives of the Helsinki meeting was to finalize the 2007 annual report “Hate Crimes in the OSCE Region: Incidents and Responses.” The organizers of the meeting did not allow for a substantial discussion of the 250-page draft, which contained numerous references to “homophobia” and “transphobia.” Despite the lack of negotiations or consultations, at the close of the meeting the chairman declared that the report had been accepted through consensus.
Observers expressed concern that the OSCE is becoming more advocacy-driven in regards to homosexual rights and the organization has introduced terms like “transphobia” that have not been agreed to nor defined by Member States, rather than simply focusing on reporting and data collection.
As the largest regional security organization in the world with 56 participating states from Europe, Central Asia and North America, the OSCE addresses concerns ranging from policing strategies, counter-terrorism, economic and environmental activities to human rights. Tolerance and non-discrimination are included as part of the OSCE mandate as “violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief, and manifestations of hate and intolerance continue to endanger stability and threaten security in the OSCE region.” OSCE Member States enjoy equal status, and decisions are taken by consensus on a politically but non-legally-binding basis.
The increasing OSCE focus on homosexual issues echoes an increasingly vocal campaign at the United Nations (UN). Gay rights groups have lobbied the UN to include “sexual orientation” on the list of other established non-discrimination categories such as sex, race and religion. To this day, the term has never been included in any binding, negotiated UN document. In the last year, UN officials and special rapporteurs have tried to get the UN to re-interpret existing human rights to include homosexual issues, such as same-sex adoption and legal recognition of same-sex unions, under the guise of non-discrimination.