Post-Gaddafi Libyan Government openly denigrates gays, UN Watch reports
“Gays threaten the continuation of the human race,” Libya’s delegate told a planning meeting of the 47-nation UN Human Rights Council yesterday, reported the Geneva-based UN Watch monitoring group. It was the first appearance in a regular council session by the post-invasion government.
Libya’s representative at the Human Rights Council took the floor yesterday to express “the sharpest protest of any country against the council’s first panel on discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation,” UN Watch reported in their release dated today. The Council is preparing for an international panel on anti-LGBT discrimination and violence planned for March 7th.
Libya’s UN delegatei, Ibrahim Aldredi, told the gathering of ambassadors yesterday that LGBT topics “affect religion and the continuation and reproduction of the human race,” at the meeting in Geneva. The comments bore a shudder-inducing resemblance to comments by Tunisia’s Human Rights Minister Samir Dilou last week, when the post-revolutionary politician referred to homosexuality as a ‘perversion’ needing medical treatment. While Dilou’s comments were made on television in the context of denouncing Tunis-based online magazine Gayday, al-Alagi’s are seen as more boldly serious for being spoken at the Council whose purpose is supposedly to defend human rights.
The Libyan delegate added that, were it not for their suspension last year, Libya would have joined other Islamic states in opposing both the panel and the council’s historic June 2011 resolution, which for the first time mandated a UN Report on discriminatory laws and violence against LGBT people. The resolution passed by a slim majority of 23 to 19, with 3 abstentions.
In response to Libya’s comment, council president Laura Dupuy Lasserre said that “the Human Rights Council is here to defend human rights and prevent discrimination,” UN Watch reported.
Pakistan, on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, also protested the LGBT panel, saying that its 56 UN member states “do not recognize LGBT issues as fundamental human rights,” and that they are not under the mandate of the Human Rights Council.
“We were happy to see the Gaddafi regime finally suspended last year,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, which in 2010 led a campaign of 70 human rights groups to expel the Libyan dictator from the council membership, “but this is not the Arab Spring we hoped for.”
“Today’s homophobic outburst by the new Libyan government, together with its commission of gross violations of human rights, underscores the serious questions many have about the new regime’s commitment to improving on the dark record of its predecessor,” said Neuer.
In November, when the UN General Assembly reinstated Libya on the council, deputy UN envoy Ibrahim Dabbashi said ”the new Libya deserves to return to the Human Rights Council to contribute with other members to the promotion of values of human rights.”
“No violations of human rights will take place on Libyan territory in the future and if it happens the perpetrator will never get away with it,” Dabbashi vowed.
According to Neuer, however, “the reinstatement of the new Libyan regime to the council, supported by 123 states including all of the Western democracies, was carried out precipitously and without any record of a commitment to human rights domestically and abroad.”
“Gays are now paying the price, with their right to be free from execution and violent attacks in places like Iran being eroded at the UN by a country that democracies fought to liberate, and by a government that our leaders helped install. Instead, Libya is pandering to the Islamists in its ranks. It’s alarming,” added UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer.
During the overthrow of Gaddafi and ben-Ali’s régimes in Libya and Tunisia last spring – known to pundits the world over as the “Arab Spring” – some observers hoped that queers in North Africa and the Middle East would have an easier time under democratic rule, but most activists expressed concerns that Islamist governments would be elected which would make the lives of LGBT people harder as the result of religiously fuelled homophobia. Sadly, the latter predictions would appear to be coming true.
Report via: www.unwatch.org
Photo: Ibrahim Aldredi via arabnews.com