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Abdel-Elah Al- Khatib, Libyan envoy to UN Human Rights Comm.
Libyan envoy: ‘Gays threaten humanity’

in LIBYAN ARAB JAMAHIRIYA, 20/02/2012

Libya's delegate to the UN Human Rights Council has made a strongly homophobic outburst saying gay and trans issues threatened the continuation of the human race.

Protesting the Council's first panel on discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation, due to take place next month, the Libyan delegate said gay and trans topics "affect religion and the continuation and reproduction of the human race."

He added that had Libya been part of the Security Council last year he would have voted against the June resolution which called - for the first time ever - for a UN report into violence and discrimination against LGBTI, leading to the upcoming panel.

Council president Laura Dupuy Lasserre responded that "the Human Rights Council is here to defend human rights and prevent discrimination."

Pakistan also protested the panel on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, arguing that its 56 UN member states do not recognize LGBTI issues as fundamental human rights, and therefore they are not under the mandate of the Human Rights Council, according to the organisation UN Watch.

Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, said "this is not the Arab Spring we hoped for."

"Today'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.

Ironically, when Libya was reinstated to the Security Council last November, deputy UN envoy Ibrahim Dabbashi said the new Libya deserved to return to the Council in order to contribute to the debate on 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 said at the time.

Libya was reinstated to the Council with the support of 123 states, including all Western democracies, but Neuer said that the decision could now be seen as "precipitous" with Libya having no demonstrable record of a commitment to human rights.

"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," Neuer said.

"Instead, Libya is pandering to the Islamists in its ranks. It's alarming."

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