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GENEVA, Switzerland – Gays threaten the continuation of the human race, Libya's delegate told a planning meeting of the 47-nation UN Human Rights Council on Monday, reports the Geneva-based UN Watch monitoring group.
It was the first appearance in a regular council session by the post-Gaddafi government, whose membership was reinstated in November following Libya's March suspension.
Libya's representative took the floor to express the sharpest protest of any country against the council's first panel on discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation, scheduled for March 7.
He told the gathering of ambassadors that LGBT topics “affect religion and the continuation and reproduction of the human race.”
The Libyan delegate added that, were it not for their suspension last year, Libya would have joined other Islamic states in opposing the council's historic June 2011 resolution, which for the first time mandated a UN report on discriminatory laws and violence against the LGBT, as well as the upcoming panel. The resolution passed by a slim majority of 23 to 19, with three 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.”
Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation also protested the 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.
Libya's outburst, which went above and beyond the collective Islamic group statement, prompted questions by human rights activists about the country's reinstatement on the 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.”
Monday’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,” Neuer said.
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,” he 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.”
About UN Watch
UN Watch is a Geneva-based human rights organization founded in 1993 to monitor UN compliance with the principles of its Charter. It is accredited as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in Special Consultative Status to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and as an Associate NGO to the UN Department of Public Information (DPI).