UN votes to protect LGBT rights despite mainly Muslim protests
Faisal Trad, above, the permanent representative of Saudi Arabia to the United Nations in Geneva, is not a happy Muslim, following a decision this week by the UN Human Rights Council to appoint an independent investigator to help protect LGBT people worldwide from violence and discrimination.
Trad, according to this report, argued against what he called “the imposition of certain ideas” and said the new post would open up:
A Pandora’s box … We will not barter man-made legislation against divine laws.
After a heated debate lasting almost four hours, the 47-member state forum overcame strong objections by Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries to adopt a Western-backed resolution by a vote of 23 states in favor and 18 against with six abstentions.
The United Nations expert, still to be named, will have a three-year mandate.
Mexico, which led Latin American states that were the main sponsors of the text, said that thousands of people are exposed to violence and discrimination due to their sexual orientation and gender identity.
Referring to the massacre of 49 people at a gay club in Florida on June 12, Mexican Ambassador Jorge Lomónaco told delegates:
Remember Orlando. Let us give hope to millions.
The United States and major European countries backed the resolution, while China, Russia and 16 African and predominantly Muslim states rejected it. India, South Africa and the Philippines were among the abstainers.
British Ambassador Julian Braithwaite said in debate.
This Council regularly – and rightly – passes resolutions on racism, women and children. Yet, on this issue, we often hear of culture and tradition as reasons to justify violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.
This affects people in this room, and people in my team who are LGBT. Are you saying it is okay to discriminate against them based on their sexual orientation and gender identity? To hit, torture, or possibly kill them? Because that is what you are supporting, if you vote against this resolution.
Nigeria called the resolution “divisive” and said that the sponsors also wanted to promote same-sex adoptions.
Pakistan – speaking on behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) of 57 states – slammed:
The promoting of certain notions, concepts and lifestyles on which there is no consensus.
In 2011, the UN rights body declared there should be no discrimination or violence against people based on their sexual orientation. At the time, Western countries called the vote historic but Islamic states firmly rejected it.