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Letter from Islamic states reveals stark opposition to gay human rights

Fifty-six Islamic states refuse to acknowledge gay rights are human rights in a letter to the UN
Zamir Akram, permanent representative of Pakistan to the UN and coordinator of the OIC group on Human Rights and Humanitarian Issues

In a letter to the UN Human Rights Council, the permanent representative of Pakistan to the UN says that he and other members of the Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) will not attend a panel on ‘Discrimination and Violence based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity’ on 7 March.

Posted on the UN Watch blog, the letter from Zamir Akram repressenting the OIC says the international organisation of 56 Islamic states including Turkey, Afghanistan, Malaysia, Indonesia and Nigeria  ‘have been consistent in their opposition to the consideration of these controversial notions in the context of human right[s]’.

The letter concludes that all 56 member states of the OIC are opposed to the panel ‘Discrimination and Violence based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity’ being held at all and ‘will not accept its considerations and recommendations’.

The statements have huge repercussions for LGBT people living the Islamic world, suggesting the 56 countries in the IOC do not recognise that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights includes the rights of LGBT people not be discriminated against or have violence directed towards them.

The letter says the signatories are concerned with ‘misinterpreting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights… to include such notions that were never articulated or agreed to by the UN membership’. The letter goes on to say 'personal behavior and preferences... have nothing to do with fundamental human rights'.

Veteran LGBT rights campaign Peter Tatchell said: ‘Pakistan has signed up to the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantees equal treatment and non-discrimination to all people.’

Tatchell concluded: ‘I urge the Pakistani President and Prime Minister to repudiate this intolerant, ignorant letter. The Ambassador's rejection of universal human rights is deplorable. It casts the government of Pakistan in a bad light.’ 

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