Saudi Arabia insists that UN keeps gay rights out of development goals

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Saudi Arabia is insisting that the United Nations keeps improving global LGBT rights out of the organisation’s Global Goals.

The UN recently launched its global goals as a series of ‘ambitious targets’ for its 193 member states related to poverty, equality and ending climate change – though overt references to LGBT equality were stripped out of the final agreement.

Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s most repressive countries, called for the UN to make sure that gay rights stay off the table entirely.

The Saudi government is protesting a target under the section of health and well-being, which states: “By 2030, ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes.”

The regime is worried that this reference to sexual rights could include rights for gay people.

The Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir told told the UN General Assembly that “mentioning sex in the text, to us, means exactly male and female. Mentioning family means consisting of a married man and woman,”

He stated that Saudi Arabia, where homosexuality is illegal and the punishment for same-sex relations can be extremely harsh, had the right not to follow any agenda that runs “counter to Islamic law.”

The UN’s Global Goals are a set of targets covering a range of issues – from clean water and food for all, to reducing emissions to sustainable

The goals separately pledge to ensure that “human rights and fundamental freedoms are enjoyed by all, without discrimination on grounds of race, ethnicity, colour, sex, age, language, religion, culture, migration status, political or other opinion, national or social origin, economic situation, birth, disability or other status.”

It also pledges to “end all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere” – but LGBT rights fails to be mentioned.

The UN has come under pressure recently for appointing Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s most repressive and homophobic countries, the chair a UN panel on human rights.

Last month, the United Nations Security Council held its first ever meeting on gay rights to discuss the terrorist group Islamic State’s persecution of sexual minorities.