Activist calls Libyan anti-gay comment at UN an ‘attack on human rights’

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Gays threaten the continuation of the human race, Libya’s delegate told a planning meeting of the UN Human Rights Council, the Geneva-based UN Watch monitoring group reported yesterday.

Protesting the council’s first panel discussion on discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation, scheduled for March 7th, Libya’s representative told the gathering of ambassadors today that LGBT topics “affect religion and the continuation and reproduction of the human race.”

In a conversation with Dan Littauer, Waleed, a gay activist and journalist from Tripoli, Libya has responded:

“These hateful words of the delegate both shocked and surprised me. Nothing and nobody, I imagine, forced the delegate to say such things, if this was a mere discussion.

“Human Rights are universal and include LGBT Rights, therefore how can a Human Right be a threat to Humanity? Being Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender is not a disease, nor a threat; we have been part of Libyan, Arab and Human Nature, Islam and society since the beginning of time.

“For example, Abu Nawas was a great gay Muslim poet whose contribution to our culture and heritage was immense, rather than a threat!

“LGBT Libyans are everywhere even though many of us are scared to identify as such because of constant threats based on backwards hostility and homophobic attitudes expressed by people such as the delegate.

“Such remarks contradict human reality, the WHO does not consider homosexuality as an illness, countless studies from biology to sociology, from history to anthropology show that LGBT people are part and parcel of the natural human condition, it is time to stop hate and denial. If the delegate is true to the revolution he should be calling for for equality not oppression, which was the hallmark of the Gadaffi regime.

“The spark of revolution came from the youth movement with whom I was involved; we want a modern Libyan democracy, which respects the rights and freedom of every Libyan. I cannot believe this person is standing against all that we have fought for in the revolution or speaking for Libya.

“If the delegate is serious about Human Rights he or she should be campaigning for Human Rights in Libya and working to repeal articles 407 and 408 of the Libyan Penal Code of 1953 that criminalise same-sex acts which contradicts the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of which Libya is a signatory.”

In November, when the UN General Assembly reinstated Libya on the council, deputy UN envoy Ibrahim Dabbashi said “the new Libya deserves to return to the Human Rights Council to contribute with other members to the promotion of values of 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 vowed.

Waleed stresses: “The delegate is surely in total contradiction to Dabbashi, his statement is not a merely attack on homosexuality, but on the very basis of human rights – what it means to be human.”