Ricky Diaz
Ricky Diaz

Discriminatory legislation breaches the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

North Carolina and other states passing religious liberty laws have once again been criticized for their discriminatory policies.  Following the announcement that the Department of Justice would sue North Carolina, North Carolina’s Governor Pat McCrory counter-sued.

Days after filing the lawsuits, the European Union released a statement on their website against North Carolina’s HB2. The statement, from spokesperson Catherine Ray, says HB2 and similar laws “discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons.”

The EU also highlighted that these laws “contravene the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the US is a state party, and which states that the law shall prohibit any discrimination and guarantee to all persons equal and effective protection.”

The statement also rules out personal religious beliefs as a means to discriminate, stating, “As a consequence, cultural, traditional or religious values cannot be invoked to justify any form of discrimination, including discrimination against LGBTI persons. These laws should be reconsidered as soon as possible.”

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights is an international civil rights treaty that was adopted in December 1966 by the United Nations General Assembly.

The treaty states that all countries must “guarantee to all persons equal and effective protection against discrimination on any ground such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or another opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or another status.”

Although the treaty has been ratified by 167 countries and the US is a founding member of the UN, a campaign spokesperson for North Carolina’s governor dismissed the statement.

The spokesperson, Ricky Diaz, said “We relinquished our adherence to the British crown and European powers over 200 years ago. The law is now in federal court, where it will be resolved.”

However, the US constitution states that international treaties hold the same authority as federal laws.

Diaz’s statement mirrors other conservatives from the state, like the executive director of the North Carolina Republican Party Dallas Woodhouse.  Woodhouse believes that Democrats in the state want to “install European socialist policies…”

The EU’s stance on HB2 and other similar laws aligns with the stance the US Department of Justice has taken against the state.

The EU’s statement ended by reaffirming support for equality for LGBT communities around the world. “We will continue to work to end all forms of discrimination and to counter attempts to embed or enhance discrimination wherever it occurs around the world,” the statement read.