Islamic nations use debate on freedom of religion to attack LGBT rights

Islamic nations use debate on freedom of religion to attack LGBT rights

As the UN Human Rights Council convenes for its 34th session, UN Watch will be reporting on the most important debates of the March 2017 session.

Mr. Ahmed Shaheed, Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief

GENEVA, March 7, 2017 – On Tuesday, Mr. Ahmed Shaheed, the new U.N. Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, delivered his first report to the U.N. Human Rights Council. Member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) utilized their allotted response time to divert attention from their own restrictions of freedom of religion and instead to attack the rights of LGBT individuals.
Shaheed’s report emphasized that the freedom of religion is an individual right which must be upheld to ensure every individual’s freedom to practice the religion of their choice, or practice no religion at all. The OIC issued a joint statement offering a “differing interpretation,” asserting that the freedom of religion outlines “collective group rights” for religious groups as a whole.
This statement opened the floor for a series of Islamic nations to comment that providing rights to LGBT individuals is a violation of rights against the religion of Islam:

  • Egypt: LGBT sexual actions should not be protected as it “contravenes social norms.”
  • Libya: “I understand we are discussing freedom of religion or belief, not the freedom to sexual orientation, so I cannot understand why the LGBT issue has been mentioned in your report.”
  • Iran: We are concerned that LGBT rights have been mentioned in the report of the Special Rapporteur. This is a non-issue.
  • Morocco: We do not agree that the state should guarantee certain rights that go “against particular views or beliefs held by the majority of the population.”

As UN Watch reported in January, OIC nations recently boycotted a meeting with the new Special Rapporteur on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI). This occurred several months after Egypt and other OIC nations first announced that they would boycott the U.N. mandate on monitoring anti-gay violence.
Other Hypocrisy and Big Lies

  • China: “The truth must be available to all people.”
  • China: “Three decades of reform in China has ushered in an unprecedented golden age for freedom of religion and belief.”
  • Venezuela: “The Bolivarian Constitution enshrines free justice as a human right.”
  • Iran: “National legal frameworks” are essential to take action “against hate speech and incitement in any manifestation.”
  • Iran:Terrorism in all its forms is a grave challenge to humanity.”
  • Vietnam: We have made “concerted efforts to ensure freedom of religion and belief.”
  • Pakistan: The free media in Pakistan continues to “foster respect for religious diversity.”
  • Sudan: We are committed to “the right of freedom of belief in all its dimensions.”
  • Saudi Arabia: “The government of my country has carried out various measures to prevent violence against children in armed conflict.”


UN Watch