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Historic UN Session On Gay Rights Marked By Arab Walkout

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said persecution of gays was "an attack on the universal values the United Nations."
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said persecution of gays was "an attack on the universal values the United Nations."
By RFE/RL
Arab and African states have walked out of an historic UN Human Rights Council debate on gay rights, saying they refuse to legitimize same-sex relations.

The move came on March 7, as the 47-member, Geneva-based council held its first-ever session on sexual-orientation-based discrimination and violence.

In June 2011, the council narrowly approved a resolution expressing “grave concern at acts of violence and discrimination in all regions of the world, committed against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity." The measure was opposed by Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Russia, among others.

Seventy-six of the UN's 192 member countries have laws on the books criminalizing homosexual behavior. At least five countries, including Iran, impose the death penalty as punishment for same-sex relations.

In a video message to council members on March 7, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said persecution of gays was "an attack on the universal values that the United Nations and I have sworn to defend and uphold."

He called the imprisonment, torture, and killing of persons based on their sexual orientation "a monumental tragedy for those affected and a stain on our collective conscience."

"It is also a violation of international law," he said. "You, as members of the Human Rights Council, must respond."

Islamic and most African countries long resisted discussion of sexual identity in the human rights body before a strong push by the United States and South Africa led to the June vote.

In Geneva, Saeed Sarwar of the Pakistani mission called into question the concept of sexual orientation itself.

"Licentious behavior promoted under the so-called concept of sexual orientation is against the fundamental teachings of various religions, including Islam," he said. "From this perspective, legitimizing homosexuality and other personal sexual behaviors in the name of sexual orientation is unacceptable."

Speaking on behalf of the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Sarwar urged the council not take up the subject of gay rights again.

Later, most Arab and African nations walked out of the debate.

Historic Session

The session was held to consider a first-of-its-kind UN report released late last year by the UN's high commissioner for human rights, Navi Pillay, which identified "a clear pattern of targeted violence and discrimination directed at people because they are, or are perceived to be" lesbian, gay, bisexual. or transgender.

The report cited reports of killings, rape, physical attacks, torture, arbitrary detention, the denial of right of assembly, and discrimination in employment, health, and education.

Among the disturbing examples cited was an account of lesbians being gang-raped in Kyrgyzstan, and an Uzbek human rights defender who was charged with homosexuality, beaten by police, and threatened with sexual assault.  The report also documented the Russian authorities' refusal to allow gay-rights activists to hold parades.

In the report, the UN's Pillay acknowleges that for "some states," homosexuality conflicts with local culture, values, or public opinion. But she also writes, "The balance between tradition and culture, on the one hand, and universal human rights on the other, must be struck in favor of rights."

Written by Richard Solash with additional AFP reporting
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by: George from: USA
March 08, 2012 00:23
The gay community are destroying the the morality of the world and we will all suffer for this way of life they live. We will only suffer for a short time, but the gay will suffer for all eternity, Thank God for he will judge impartially.
In Response

by: tenom pratchaina from: thailand
March 08, 2012 09:47
So let GOD be the judge then. Why are you human especially those religious ones think you have the rights to do God's work???? The LGBT's are also God's creation and He created them for a purpose but definitely for sure not for the purpose of being abused, discriminate, torture and kill!!!! If anything that is destroying the morality of the world, it is the hatred that is flourishing among you people who endlessly opposed to the LGBTs and other minority group in this world!!!!
In Response

by: A Good Man from: Montreal
March 09, 2012 20:16
I agree completely.

I remain baffled by religious fundamentalists ability to ignore the fact that it is possible to have a moral compas without a religion to define it for you, and that its possible to want to be a good person but not want to follow the outdated rules of a primitive culture. In almost all religions (including Islam, but notable accusing Christianity) it is taught that acceptance of the beliefs of others is moral, and that the persecution of others for any reason is amoral (Christ taught forgiveness and compassion).

Any person who supports the oppression and persecution of LGBT's bassed on religious principles is perverting their own religion to justify their hateful beliefs and actions. The moral, pious thing to do (assuming you still believe homosexuality is sin and that gender is binary) would be to allow the sinners to sin, and to accept them for what they were, god's creations, without sinning yourself; the second your raise a hand against another out of jealously, hatred, or ignorance is the moment that you become worse than those who you wish ill upon...
In Response

by: George
March 11, 2012 21:53
God did NOT create a person to be a homosexual, that individual chose to be homosexual because they want to be a homosexual. This is against what God intended for them to be. So do not blame God for their stupidity.
In Response

by: Voice of Reason from: Global
March 11, 2012 17:25
You need not believe the words of fairy tales and believe there is a higher being looking over you to be moral and true to yourself. Hate and prejudice is not good, despite what your fables tell you.
In Response

by: Emma
March 26, 2012 09:06
What kind of backward ignorant bigoted homophobe are you?
It is the unanimous consensus all the world's major scientific organizations that homosexuality is a normal, natural, and positive variant of human sexuality, and that is not a choice.

Thank God that bigots always lose every battle in the end - your type lost over ending slavery, over women's rights, over minority racial rights, and so on. You will lose this time round as well you sick backward cruel bigot. It people like you who would murder LGBT people for who they are and like it when LGBT kids commit suicide.
You're disgusting - but as always bigotry and ignorance will always lose in the end.

by: Sey from: World
March 08, 2012 02:27
There is a Western conception of human rights: it pretty much means liberal complicity and silence at state level with whatever right or wrong anybody wants to do. And there are other conceptions of human rights, where what you want right or wrong must first be deeply though for because society imposes rules and these are first than your own interests or your feelings.

Western nations should never attempt to push their conceptions into other people's mindsets.

Now, with that said, torturing/killing homosexuals is wrong at every level just as it is wrong to kill any person simply because their different. But something as private as sexuality is is something you carry for yourself, not for others to accept.

You're gay, okay, just shut up about it, we don't really care about what you like to do in bed. There are no need for parades, for festivals, for anything...just be yourself, for yourself and those close to you. Now if you like to be flamboyant and loud about it, or as you say "proud", then you deserve some kicking.
In Response

by: Bryan from: NYC
March 08, 2012 13:24
The issue is that these countries are kidnapping, imprisoning, torturing, and executing LBGT people, even teenagers, and often without trial. Do you approve of this in the name of multiculturalism? What about when they do the same for people converting from Islam to another faith (or being suspected of conversion)?
In Response

by: heis
March 08, 2012 15:29
Well, it's possible that the parades and such are to encourage people in the closet to come out and simply be themselves; to be gay in their personal lives - because even being gay can elicit vicious attacks and abandonment by others.
In Response

by: Alicia from: Detroit
March 09, 2012 00:31
By that logic, no parades should exist since they're all about pride, flamboyance and loudness. Or do you think the Irish deserve some kicking as well?

by: billyWingarten from: Baltimore MD
March 08, 2012 06:23
Good ridance. Especially to the african states, eg consider Uganda, where they are trying to pass a bill best known as the genocide of Gays bill.

With btw the connivance of american evangelicals.

The world should cut off these african nations from the international community until they come to their senses.

by: Vakhtang from: Moscow
March 08, 2012 07:49
Let's imagine that a homosexual after a glass of vodka began to pursue Mr.Ban Kee-moon demanding to join him in a sexual relationship.
Mr.Ban Kee-moon runs through the corridors of the UN and shouted: "Help!"
Calm down Mr.Ban Kee-moon and let yourself to homosexual..as they say in Russia -sex once with a gay, it does not mean to be by a gay...

This is sexual harassment or what?...When a man stick to the man, asking to have sex...
What about the rights of atheists and arrests of priests for pedophilia and fraud, racism in Abkhazia? You're not going Mr.Bun Kee-moon to discuss it at the UN?
by the way
I congratulate you Mr.Ban Kee-moon with International Women's Day March 8...

by: curt solash from: viera, fl
March 08, 2012 13:24
yes, it's easy to call homosexuality a sin and blame the problems of the world on people like "them". i guess that's why african and islamic nations have made such a mess of things--it's "our fault."And, of course, the way they deal with a civilized dialogue about reality is to..walk out!!

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