Historic UN LGBT Rights Session Sees Walkout


On Wednesday the United Nations Human Rights Council held a first-of-its-kind discussion on the global rights of LGBT world-citizens. Though several Arab and African states staged a walkout in protest, the importance of this historic meeting remained key.

The March 7 UN council meeting saw the 47-member panel gather for its first-ever session on sexual orientation-based discrimination and violence.

In a video message to the council UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon called persecution of people based on their sexual orientation an “attack on the universal values that the United Nations and I have sworn to defend and uphold.”

Ban also said, ”We see a pattern of violence and discrimination directed at people just because they are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender,” and went on to stress that the imprisonment, torture, and killing of persons based on their sexual orientation is “a monumental tragedy for those affected and a stain on our collective conscience. It is also a violation of international law. You, as members of the Human Rights Council, must respond.”

The ground breaking UN gathering also discussed details of a UN report presented by the UN’s high commissioner for human rights, Navi Pillay. The report identified “a clear pattern of targeted violence and discrimination” against LGBT world citizens. The report also detailed the killings, torture, physical attacks, arbitrary detentions and denial of rights that LGBT people suffer in some member states.

In an important show of strength Pillay warned memberstates that while the UN had respect for culture and tradition it would not allow such abuses to continue.

Via The Guardian:

“I know some will resist what we are saying,” said Pillay, who earlier this week was accused by Egypt of promoting homosexuality by pressing on with the report despite the objections of Islamic countries.

In a clear reference to Islamic and African countries, she said some states would argue that homosexuality or bisexuality “conflict with local cultural or traditional values, or with religious teachings, or run counter to public opinion”.

She said that they were free to hold their opinions, but: “That is as far as it goes. The balance between tradition and culture, on the one hand, and universal human rights on the other, must be struck in favour of rights.”

The council had, in June 2011, already 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,” but did so with staunch opposition from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and several other nations.

It is estimated that 76 of the UN’s 192 member countries criminalize homosexuality, while at least 5 countries, including Iran, impose the death penalty.

The walkout staged during this historic meeting was preceded by a warning from Saeed Sarwar of the Pakistani mission who argued against promoting “licentious behavior.”

Via Radio Free Europe:

“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.

Representatives from Nigeria joined the walkout, saying that violence against citizens based on their sexual orientation or gender identity simply didn’t occur in the state, while Mauritania, of another Arab group, all of whose members are also in the OIC, warned that any so-called attempt to impose “the controversial topic of sexual orientation” would threaten to undermine progress on other human rights issues.

However, while the walkout of several nations did marr proceedings somewhat, those nations that remained were praised for their participation by human rights groups, and the meeting itself was hailed as a historic step forward that should now lead to further action.

Related Reading:

EU Calls for End to Classifying Trans People As Mentally Ill
LGBT Morning Mix: Obama’s UN Speech and Other Global News
How Gay Rights Reached the UN (VIDEO)


Image used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks to United Nations Information Service - Geneva.


Ashlyine B.
Ashlyine B.3 years ago

I feel really finicky reading these articles I mean there are writers that can write reasonable stuff.

Annmari Lundin
Annmari Lundin4 years ago

Islamic and African countries walked out because sexual and gender identity goes against their beliefs. But multiple wifes, marrying children, mutilation girls is completely OK!

Andrew Carvin
Andrew Carvin4 years ago

I made a video about why Homosexuals should have equal rights.


Watch it, share it, and join the fight against the evil Homophobes.

Glenda L.
Glenda L.4 years ago

Wow, I'm surprised it 's the first!!

Berny P.
Berny p.4 years ago

The first killings took place on the sixth of February 2012 and continued or rather escalated till the current days. One of the hanged lists in Al-Sadr city included the names and addresses of 33 person, while other lists included other tens of names in other areas. News confirmed that 42 gay men were tortured and killed so far, mostly by concrete blocks, while some by dismembering......


Olivia K.
Olivia K.4 years ago

The UN is often like the tail trying to wag the dog. The overwhelming majority do not support this agenda. Who is going to trade their religion or culture for UN approval?

Stefanie D.
Stefanie D.4 years ago

cont'd from below:

Sheer hypocrisy also extends to what happens to some gay men, forced transsexual transition via SRS so they become female, even if they are 'male minded'; and any MtF transsexuals who really are 'female minded' also face the same kind of risks of abuse of enslavement, violence or even death that Lesbians face when it comes to natural loving relationships that are 'women among women'. It is their only real social relational refuge of safety.
The world must find a way to eradicate this 'cultural' oppressive enslavement and peddling of the defenseless...

Stefanie D.
Stefanie D.4 years ago

Who can imagine the suffering women go through when it comes to seeking security in life under the context of a cultural oppression under men, being treated like a commodity (or less)... it can be no surprise that a woman's only real safe refuge is amongst other women (thus 'homosexuality'), and that any life under a man is less than humane, even in marriage, or under Islamic Nikahu’l-Mut‘ah, a form of negotiated 'temporary' prostitutional marriage that benefits the man (for his pleasure) at a price (a dowry; in reality a price-for-sex) paid to ANY woman. Such women are often at risk of being passed around and 'used' (raped by MARRIED Muslim MEN, like a sex SLAVE). All the Muslim men have done is cleaned up this barbaric trap to make it a part of their 'culture' or 'religion'. This is disgusting molestation and abuse of all women within their control.


Islam is such a hypocritical male self-serving religion and culture that makes 'licentious behavior' of others, many of whom are women, who just want to love freely as consenting, responsible, non-coerced, non-oppressed, financially independent females among females ('Lesbians') pale by comparison. And this would obviously include open minded bisexuals and atypically sexed folks (be they intersex or transsexual, etc) or just gay men.
Sheer hypocrisy also extends to what happens to some gay men, forced transsexual transit

Lauren B.

What if people and their governments just stopped persecuting, period. No justifications for any persecutions. Think what you want, believe what you want, write what you want and leave the people who disagree with you alone to live their lives.

Andrew Carvin
Andrew Carvin4 years ago

I made a video about why Homosexuals should have equal rights.


Watch it, share it, and join the fight against the evil Homophobes.