Pakistan votes ‘No’ as UN rights body calls for end to anti-gay discrimination

By AFP
Published: September 27, 2014
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The 47-nation Human Rights Council resolution expressed "grave concern at acts of violence and discrimination, in all regions of the world, committed against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity". PHOTO: @KenRoth

The 47-nation Human Rights Council resolution expressed "grave concern at acts of violence and discrimination, in all regions of the world, committed against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity". PHOTO: @KenRoth

NEW YORK: United Nation’s top human rights body called on Friday for nations to protect the rights of individuals regardless of sexual orientation, in a vote that exposed global fault lines over gay rights.

The vote, which laid bare global fault lines on the subject, saw 14 nations opposed to the resolution including Muslim countries Pakistan, Algeria, Indonesia, Morocco and Saudi Arabia, as well as Russia, and, from sub-Saharan Africa, Ivory Coast and Ethiopia.

The 47-nation Human Rights Council resolution expressed “grave concern at acts of violence and discrimination, in all regions of the world, committed against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity”.

“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights,” the council said, adding that tradition was no excuse for the violence and discrimination suffered by people worldwide due to their gender and sexual identity.

But the vote cleaved the 47-state council neatly between mostly Western states, and a group including Asian and African nations, many Muslim.

The 25-strong bloc in favour of the resolution included Western and Latin American nations, as well as South Africa, the Philippines and Vietnam.

Seven members including China and India abstained, while Benin’s ambassador was absent.

Adversaries failed in multiple efforts to use procedural moves to strip the resolution of significance by removing all references to sexual orientation and gender identity.

They also tried to add language making it applicable only to countries who proactively declare support for sexual diversity and rights.

The resolution dismissed cultural specificity as a justification for states allowing anti-gay policies and violence.

“While the significance of national and regional particularities and various historical, cultural and religious backgrounds must be borne in mind, it is the duty of states, regardless of their political, economic and cultural systems, to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms,” it said.

The resolution also tasked the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights with carrying out a new assessment of the state of violence and discrimination and how it can be battled.

“This resolution will offer hope for all those in the world who are victims of such violence or discrimination, and that is its goal,” said France’s UN ambassador, Nicolas Niemtchinow.

South Africa offered its staunch support for the resolution, referring to its own history of enduring the apartheid regime.

“This history and the struggle against all forms of discrimination had therefore made us, as a people and a country, commuted to the principle that no person should be subjected to discrimination or violence based on race, class, sex, religion, gender and, as is the case with this resolution, on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity,” said South Africa’s ambassador, Abdul Samad Minty.

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Reader Comments (11)

  • It's (still) Economy Stupid
    Sep 27, 2014 - 4:31AM

    If a minority wants others to accept them than they have to respect the rights of other minorities too. If Muslim around the world want other people to accept them as who they are than they should first learn to respect other minorities regardless whether you agree with them or not.

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  • Faisal
    Sep 27, 2014 - 8:05AM

    That’s a shame. Times have changed and Pakistan needs to allow freedom to minorities just as we want to be honored at the international level.

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  • Vineeth
    Sep 27, 2014 - 8:10AM

    Although the opposition from Muslim states was expected, what irks me more is India’s abstention. I guess India’s new ruling party did not want to look regressive in front of the world, and at the same time, did not want to offend their conservative parent organizations either. But by doing so, we are in the company of countries that are not exactly famous for their human rights record.Recommend

  • Logical Indian
    Sep 27, 2014 - 9:36AM

    @It’s (still) Economy Stupid
    Your comment is out of context. Stop seeing the world with religious glasses. Its very sick to generalize 2 billion people just because they follow same faith. The minorities in this case are LGBT people. Black people are minority in Europe and America. American Indian or indigenous peoples of the Americas are now minority there. Tamil speaking people are minority in India. Stop this hate filled nonsense. The elections are over and the results are achieved. Whats the use of continuing this?

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  • ajeet
    Sep 27, 2014 - 12:22PM

    They are muslim nations. Why should the world accept anything better?

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  • lol
    Sep 27, 2014 - 12:43PM

    I have nothing against LGBT’s, but in all honesty they’re not my concern either. What worries me more is the fact that millions die or killed because of poverty, ethnicity, religious affiliation! But UN is more worried about LGBT which has become a bigger talking point in the west than thousands being murdered in Palestine alone! This is what sickens me; lets do a parade for gays because we like to tell the whole world about our sexual orientation, who cares about 2 year old being bombed by a jet. Lets speak up for LGBT & not Palestinians, Kudos UN!

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  • Moiz Omar
    Sep 27, 2014 - 10:23PM

    It can be disputable whether homosexuality is normal or not, but we all should be able to agree a person should not be discriminated against simply for being a homosexual.Recommend

  • Sep 28, 2014 - 10:20AM

    Those who have knowledge of history of Persian literature and Moughal times will know that this was widely accepted and practiced.

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  • Iron hand
    Sep 28, 2014 - 4:38PM

    Muslim nations still having a hard time distinguishing between religious proscriptions and modern human rights.

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  • Randomstranger
    Sep 28, 2014 - 6:40PM

    Where is Israel?

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  • Rahul
    Sep 28, 2014 - 10:21PM

    I am ashamed as an Indian that the Govt of the day decided to abstain from the voting.

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