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Clinton hails 'historic' UN gay rights resolution

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton welcomed Friday's passage of a UN resolution on the rights of gays as a "historic moment," saying it affirms that human rights are universal.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, pictured on June 13, Friday welcomed the passage of a UN resolution on the rights of gays as a "historic moment," saying it affirms that human rights are universal.

The UN Human Rights Council narrowly passed the resolution which seeks equal rights for all regardless of sexual orientation, by a vote of 23 to 19 with three abstentions, in Geneva.

"This represents a historic moment to highlight the human rights abuses and violations that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people face around the world based solely on who they are and whom they love," Clinton said in a statement.

She said people all over the world face rights abuses and violations because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

"Today's landmark resolution affirms that human rights are universal. People cannot be excluded from protection simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity," she said.

The resolution, which expresses "grave concern" over violence and discrimination against individuals over their sexual orientation or gender identity, was vehemently opposed by Arab and African states and is not binding.

But US diplomats said the resolution expands the concept of universal human rights in a new direction, helping to establish a new standard on issues that have been taboo in many parts of the world.

"It is the first internationally recognized form of protection for lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual people," said Eileen Donahoe, the US ambassador to the Human Rights Council.

"It is now on the map as a legitimate topic for those concerned about human rights to be raising and reaffirming internationally. And we think this is a game changer in terms of changing the culture, at least on the Human Rights Council, for protection of LGBT people," she said.

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