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Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Muslim states walk out of UN debate on gay rights

From AFP:
African and Arab states walked out in protest Wednesday during a U.N. Human Rights Council debate on gay rights, saying that they could not legitimize homosexuality.

The 47-member state council was holding a session on sexual orientation-based discrimination for the first time after a historic resolution seeking equal rights for everyone was passed in June 2011, to the consternation of Muslim states.

On Wednesday, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Arab group and the African group made their opposition clear, by walking out during the meeting.

“Licentious behavior promoted under the concept of ‘sexual orientation’ is against the fundamental teachings of various religions including Islam,” Pakistan’s envoy said.

“From this perspective, legitimizing homosexuality and other personal sexual behaviors in the name of sexual orientation is unacceptable to the OIC,” he added.
WaPo adds:
On Wednesday the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva is to discuss the recommendations of a November report surveying the discrimination and abuse — often state-sponsored — that gay people endure around the world. Even those who disapprove of homosexuality on religious grounds are unlikely to object to the report’s anodyne recommendations: that governments should decriminalize homosexuality, work to prevent violence against gays and recognize sexual orientation as a valid cause for asylum.

But not everyone welcomes the report’s conclusions. The most vociferous opposition has come from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, a group of 57 Muslim states. “We note with concern the attempts to create controversial ‘new notions’ or ‘new standards’ by misinterpreting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international treaties to include such notions that were never articulated or agreed to by the U.N. membership,” Zamir Akram, Pakistan’s ambassador to the U.N. office in Geneva, wrote to the president of the Human Rights Council on the Muslim organization’s behalf.
Notice how the AFP report refers to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation as "African and Arab states." Which isn't even accurate, as there are some members of the OIC that are neither - like Iran and Pakistan. But AFP would never put the word "Islamic" in the first paragraph of an article like this.