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Gay rights activists criticize Emirates election to UN human rights council

Gay rights activists criticize Emirates election to UN human rights council

The UAE won this week the membership of the UN Human Rights Council for a three-year term starting in 2013.

But UAE gay rights campaigners criticised the election saying it has an appalling record on human rights and in particualr LGBT rights.

Celebrating the election, Dr Anwar Mohammed Gargash, the UAE foreign affairs minister, stated that the country has ‘honorable human rights record’ and the ‘win crowns’ these ‘achievements’.

However, a day after its election the UAE announced a crackdown and jail terms against anyone who ‘derides’ and therefore ‘damages’ ‘the reputation or stature of the state or any of its institutions’.

In October, the European Union parliament adopted a resolution on the deteriorating human rights situation in the UAE.

Contrary to Gargash’s statements, the resolution highlighted that it has accelerated crackdowns on human rights defenders and civil society activists.

The EU called upon the UAE to halt its policy of harassing, detaining human rights defenders and restricting the rights of women, migrant workers and freedom of expression.

Adilah, a lesbian member of UAE LGBT told GSN: ‘It is shocking this happens after the EU resolution on UAE’s abysmal human rights.

The UAE does not even consider LGBT rights as human rights.

Abdulla, the chair of the group said: ‘to say that the UAE has an “honorable human rights record” is wilfully short sighted and irresponsible.

‘As an Emarati gay activist I view this “victory” as one that undoubtfully undermines the universal principles that the United Nations stands for.

‘Was it not our Justice Minister who once said: ‘’There will be no Room for homosexual and queer acts in the UAE”?

‘There have been countless cases of LGBT rights abuses this year alone; like the unlawful detainment of members of our community for expressing themselves, or the “corrective” and hormonal “therapies” to change us into “straights”, to name a few.

‘Perhaps the only silver lining is that Gargash and the UAE representative to the UN will now be held more accountable to the blatant breaches of the UAE on the issue of equality and human dignity from now on.

Nasira, the director of the group stated: ‘As a lesbian living in Dubai, there is nothing dignified in having to hide who I have lived with and loved for the past 8 years.

There is nothing dignified in fearing the next knock at the door for fear of arrest, abuse or deportation.

‘Equality does not seek to promote the well being and rights of one class of citizens over another. 

‘Justice does not involve the archaic psychological torture of individuals who have committed no crime other than accepting their sexual preference.

‘This is another shining example of the domination of political and economical agendas overriding the express concerns of international minorities whose voices are overshadowed by profit.’