Islamic And African Nations Walk Out Of UN’s LGBT Equality Hearing In Protest

Delegates from Muslim and African countries part of the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation walked out of the UN Human Rights Council’s historic hearing on LGBT equality yesterday. A diplomat from Pakistan described homosexuality as “licentious behavior promoted under the concept of ‘sexual orientation’ is against the fundamental teachings of various religions including Islam.” He added, “From this perspective, legitimizing homosexuality and other personal sexual behaviors in the name of sexual orientation is unacceptable to the OIC,” he added.

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.”

A report released by the council last year found that “76 countries among the UN’s 192 members had laws criminalizing homosexual behavior” and “at least five – in particular Iran – implement the death penalty, while efforts are under way in Uganda to introduce the same punishment.” At the start of yesterday’s hearing, UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon issued a special message to the council, decrying violence against the LGBT community as a “monumental tragedy” that is a “stain on our collective conscience” and a “violation of international law.”