Islamic bloc blocks UN Anti-Gay violence discussion
Pakistan together with the 57 Islamic bloc of nations at the UN have declared their opposition to the UN Human Rights Council discussing discrimination and violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. All the 57 nations of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation(OIC) supported the move.
A panel discussion is scheduled for Wednesday, March 7, at the UN in Geneva, during the 19th session of the UN Human Rights Council will discuss the LGBT rights.
Their opposition is set out in a letter to the UN Human Rights Council, signed by the Pakistani Ambassador to the UN, Zamir Akram. He writes on behalf of the government of Pakistan and all 57 countries that belong to the OIC.
The Ambassador's letter makes the claim that LGBT rights are not human rights; asserting that they have "nothing to do with fundamental human rights." It denounces same-sex relationships as "abnormal sexual behaviour;" adding that "the issue of sexual orientation is unacceptable to the OIC." Ambassador Akram's letter concludes by vowing that the OIC member countries "record their opposition to the holding of this panel and will not accept its considerations and recommendations."
Despite opposition by Islamic nations (and others), it is expected that the UN Human Rights Council panel on Wednesday will reaffirm its commitment to combat discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Read this previous, very supportive UN report on LGBT human rights:
Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation, works with the democracy and human rights movements in Pakistan. He said:
"Pakistan and the other 56 Islamic countries have signed up to the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantees equal treatment and non-discrimination to all people.
"Pakistan is a member of the Commonwealth, whose Secretary General, Kamalesh Sharma, has declared that homophobic discrimination and violence is incompatible with Commonwealth values.
"Shamefully, Pakistan opposes this UN panel discussing discrimination and violence against LGBT people. Even many governments that disagree with homosexuality agree that violence against anyone, including sexual minorities, is wrong.
"The bigoted stance of the Pakistani Ambassador to the UN is ill-informed about human sexuality and human rights law. He is living in the Dark Ages, ignoring scientific understanding and humanitarian ethics. His homophobic views are an insult to the estimated nine million lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Pakistanis. They have human rights too.
"The Pakistani penal code punishes homosexuality with life imprisonment but in some regions of the country LGBT people can face execution and so-called honour killings.
"The President and Prime Minister of Pakistan should repudiate Mr Akram's intolerant, ignorant statement. His rejection of universal human rights is deplorable. It casts the government of Pakistan in a very bad light.
"Pakistan's rejection of LGBT rights is consistent with its generally poor human rights record, including intense repression in Balochistan and Sindh," said Mr Tatchell.