United Nations Ill-Advised on Homosexual Laws
Straits Times, February 8, 2004
Balai Berita 31, Jalan Riong, 59100 Bangsar, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
By Hamidah Atan
SEREMBAN—The United Nations has
been ill-advised when it threatened to punish nations which banned homosexual
activities through a new human rights resolution to be tabled in April.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri
Dr Rais Yatim called on the UN not to deprive developing and Islamic nations
of their basic laws and rights.
“The municipal or domestic laws of a nation should not
be dictated by the UN’s mechanism of laws, unless the former wants to
comply,” he said.
Rais said the resolution, if approved, could be
interpreted as UN intervening in a nation’s sovereignty.
“We will have to see first how the contents of the
resolution are written,” he said.
“We will also have to see how many countries will
subscribe to it. There are countries, including Malaysia, that do not
recognise sexual relations between males and such a law is sovereign and basic
Director of a San Francisco-based International Gay and
Lesbian Human Rights Commission, Paula Ettelbrick, was quoted as saying that
the resolution, to be tabled between April 15 and 25 in Geneva, would link all
forms of human rights, covering sexual orientation choices for a person.
Last year, Pakistan issued a memorandum stating that the
resolution was against the teachings of Islam as well as other religions. The
memorandum also stated that if the resolution was approved, it would
indirectly humiliate Islam and 1.2 billion Islamic followers all over the
On the campaign to curb sexual crimes and abuse against
children, Rais said the Government would amend the laws to protect
children’s rights and safety as and when the need arose.
Apart from on-going efforts to introduce harsher
punishment for child rapists, the Government would also amend laws relating to
sodomy where the victims were children.
The Government would also consider amending provisions on
unnatural offences under Section 377 of the Penal Code if more sodomy cases or
unnatural sex practices whose victims were children occurred.
“For now, however, there is no necessity to amend the
section,” he said. “The law on sodomy as stipulated in the Penal Code is
adequate. It provides harsh punishment for offenders convicted of committing
unnatural sexual practices.
“However, if frequency of cases develops over time,
where the victims are mainly children, the Government will not sit still ...
just like what we are doing now against child rapists.” So far, Rais said
his ministry had not received representations for a review of the laws.
He was asked to comment on a case in Rantau near here
where an 11-year-old schoolboy was allegedly sodomised by a 40-year-old man on
Friday, who has since been arrested.
Under Section 377c of the Penal Code, those convicted of
such crimes are jailed for not less than five years and not more than 20
years. Offenders are also liable to whipping.
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