Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Islamic states oppose discussion of homophobic violence at UN

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Zamir Akram, Pakistani ambassador to the UN
The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the bloc of Muslim-majority states which has previously attempted to introduce resolutions condemning the "defamation of religion" at the United Nations, has registered its opposition to a discussion at the UN on “Discrimination and Violence based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity”.

In a letter to the president of the Human Rights Council, Pakistan's ambassador to the UN, Zamir Akram, outlined the OIC's opposition to the discussion:
"The OIC States are deeply concerned by the introduction in the Human Rights Council of controversial notions like “sexual orientation and gender identity.” The OIC countries have been consistent in their opposition to the consideration of these controversial notions in the context of human right at international fora."
Akram goes on to explain that the OIC are "seriously concerned at the attempt to introduce in the United Nations concepts that have no legal foundation in any international human rights instrument" and "disturbed at the attempt to focus on certain persons on the grounds of their abnormal sexual behaviour, while not focusing on the glaring instances of intolerance and discrimination in various parts of the world, be it on the basis of colour, race, gender or religion, to mention only a few".

Akram then explains why "the issue of sexual orientation is unacceptable to the OIC":
"It must also be recognized that the international community agreed during the World Conference on Human Rights, held in Vienna in 1993, that while considering the issue of human rights, national and regional particularities and various historical, cultural and religious backgrounds must be borne in mind. [...]

The OIC Member States are concerned that the Panel will discuss issues that relate to personal behavior and preferences, and have nothing to do with fundamental human rights. This debate will shift the focus from the real issues that deserve the attention of the Council."
The discussion on homophobic violence will take place tomorrow (Wednesday 7 March) at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

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