UN panel on anti-gay violence denounced

WiG

A Pakistani spokesman for the United Nation’s Islamic bloc said today that its 56 member states would ignore a scheduled UN rights panel on anti-gay violence.

He said members were “disturbed” at the “attempted focus on certain persons” on the grounds of their “abnormal sexual behavior,” which “have nothing to do with fundamental human rights.”

The announcement, reported on Feb. 17 by the Geneva-based human rights group UN Watch, prompted sharp reactions from human rights activists.

UN Watch director Hillel Neuer urged U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to condemn the “scandalous assault on the right of gays not to be put to death in countries like Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen.”

“Human rights are universal and there is no religious exemption for barbaric violence against innocent human beings anywhere,” said Neuer, who lauded Clinton for leadership on the issue at the UN.

“We’re alarmed by a steady drumbeat against gays by powerful countries,” said Neuer, who said diplomatic sources have informed UN Watch that the Islamic states are considering a walkout during the March 7 panel.

The letter by Pakistan’s Geneva envoy Zamir Akram on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation –comprised of 56 Islamic UN member states and the Palestinian Authority – was sent on Valentine’s Day to UN Human Rights Council president Laura Dupuy Lasserre and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay.

The OIC declared its unequivocal opposition to the upcoming panel discussion concerning a new UN report on discriminatory laws and practices and violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. The OIC will “will not accept its considerations and recommendations.”

The panel and report were mandated by the council’s historic June 2011 resolution, which passed by a slim majority.

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