Muslim Alliance Derails UN’s Gay Rights Resolution
Guardian, April 25, 2003
By Andrew Osborn
A UN vote on homosexual human rights was yesterday
derailed at the last minute by an alliance of disapproving Muslim countries.
The UN had been due to vote on the matter for the first time in its almost
60-year history, but five Muslim countries delayed the vote until today and
introduced amendments designed to kill it off.
The amendments remove all references to discrimination on
the basis of sexual orientation, and render the resolution meaningless.
UN sources said Pakistan, Egypt, Libya, Saudi Arabia and
Malaysia were doing everything they could to stop the resolution. “I suspect
they want to stall as much as possible and lobby other countries to win
support for their amendments,” said a source.
The historic resolution on “human rights and sexual
orientation” was originally tabled by Brazil at the UN commission on human
rights, in Geneva, with the support of 19 other countries including Britain.
It calls on all UN member states to promote and protect the human rights “of
all persons regardless of their sexual orientation”.
But the sentiments are anathema to many UN states; almost
half outlaw gay sexual relations and more than 70 countries keep a total ban
on homosexuality—in some cases it is punished by death.
The British gay rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell, said:
“The vote has been derailed and delayed by Islamic fundamentalist states
where gay people are either jailed, flogged or beheaded.”
He said those countries’ records of gay human rights
abuses showed why the resolution was urgently needed.