By Roy Brown
International Humanist and Ethical Union
UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL: 19th Session
Speaker: IHEU Main Representative, Roy W Brown, Monday 5 March 2012
Agenda Item 2: Reports of the High Commissioner
Discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity
Thank you Sir.
We applaud the High Commissioner for her comprehensive report on discrimination and acts of violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity. She has once again shown herself and her office to be champions of the universality of human rights.
We deplore however the opposition expressed by some member states to the panel discussion on these issues to be held here on 7th March. These states are either unaware of the genetic and biological basis for differences in sexual orientation or are prepared to ignore such evidence for religious reasons. No doubt they also wish to shield their own appalling human rights records from too much scrutiny.
The opposition to the discussion expressed by the OIC is a timely reminder that, for them, the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights do not apply universally.
Many States have much to do in improving public policy regarding sexual orientation, and there is evidently a huge gap in knowledge and understanding of homosexuality and the transgendered among both the public and governments. Statements such as that recently heard here that homosexuals threaten the future of the human race do no credit whatsoever to a member state of this Council.
The objective of the panel discussion, as we believe has been made abundantly clear, is not to promote homosexual behaviour but to defend those of different sexual orientation from discrimination and violence.
We urge the OIC member states, and those others that treat sexual orientation as an issue requiring state-sanctioned penalties, to remember their obligations under the ICCPR, and to reconsider not only their opposition to the panel discussion on 7th March but also to reconsider their own often draconian laws against people whose only “crime” is to biologically different.