Pakistan along with all 57 countries belonging to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) at the UN have declared opposition to the upcoming UN Human Rights Council’s discussion on discrimination and violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.
Prior to the panel discussion scheduled for March 7, 2012 in Geneva, Pakistani Ambassador to the UN, Zamir Akram in a letter to the UN Human Rights Council stated that LGBT rights have “nothing to do with fundamental human rights.”
Writing on behalf of Pakistan and the OIC, Akram’s letter further states that same-sex relationships are “abnormal sexual behaviour” and that “the issue of sexual orientation is unacceptable to the OIC.”
“We note with concern the attempts to create controversial “new notions” or “new standards” by misinterpreting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international treaties to include such notions that were never articulated or agreed to by the UN membership,” the letter reads.
In a concluding note about the scheduled 19th session of the UN Human Rights Council, the letter states that, “the Member States of the OIC would like to place on record their opposition to the holding of this panel and will not accept its considerations and recommendations.”
Despite opposition by the OIC, it is expected that the UN panel will reaffirm its commitment to fighting discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
In 2011, the UN Human Rights Council passed a historic resolution that sought equal rights for everyone regardless of their sexual orientation, marking progress for gay rights despite strong Arab and African opposition.
The resolution was passed narrowly with 23 votes in favour, 19 against and three abstentions.