Palestine & Human Rights: Praising Gaddafi, Supporting Death Penalty for Homosexuality

Another session of United Nations’ Human Rights Council has opened last week in Geneva, and on its’ agenda is full.

Two things, as the very least, are worth noting about this session regarding a entity that seeks independance while avoiding negotiations and peaceful ways to achieve that – The Palestine Authority:

  1. Its’ praisal of the Gaddafi regime and its’ supposed human rights protection.
  2. Its’ part in the OIC – the block of Muslim nations – letter to the UNHRC condemning it for having a panel discussing the death penalty for the “crime” of homosexuality (supporting the death penalty!!)

It should be noted that the Palestine Authority is the moderate of the Palestinian factions and the internationally-recognized entity that controls the PLO – a body claiming to represent all of the Palestinians world-wide and in de-facto control of the West Bank only (and no such control in the Gaza Strip as well, even 10 months after the first announcement of the farcical unity with Hamas).

It is peculiar, to say the least, that a governing entity that cries worldwide of its’ own human rights violations, would go to such lengths to support another regime’s human rights violations (much more blatant, hurtful and destructive), and raises questions as to the kind of “democracy” Palestine Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, is talking about, not to mention the enourmous amount of pro-Palestine activists around the world.

Supporting Gaddafi’s Regime

In March of last year, 2011, a report that mostly praises and a tiny-bit criticized Gaddafi’s regime in Libya was scheduled to be adopted by the UN Human Rights Council. Due to the uprising and protests against the regime in Lybia, as well as the brutal fire taken by the regime in order to kill the uprising (and the protestors), the adoption of said report was delayed.

Now, one year later, on March 16th 2012, the UNHRC is expected to adopt this document. While written just shortly before the uprising, it does not reflect the true nature of the Libyan regime, the kind that brought forth the uprising. Many countries (of oppressing regimes) testified in front of the HRC‘s committee. He’s what the Palestinian delegation had to say about Gaddafi:

Palestine commended the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya for the consultations held with civil society in the preparation of the national report, which demonstrated its commitment to the improved enjoyment of human rights. Palestine praised the country for the Great Green Document on Human Rights. It noted the establishment of the national independent institution entrusted with promoting and protecting human rights, which had many of the competencies set out in the Paris Principles. It also noted the interaction of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya with human rights mechanisms.

(The above is taken from the report, at Summary of the proceedings of the review process, B. Interactive dialogue and responses by the State under review, paragraph 35).

Opposing Panel on Violence Against Gays

UNWatch posted the letter on their blog, sent by the Zamir Akram, a Pakistani spokesman for the Islamic bloc in the UN.

The Islamic bloc – comprised of 56 Muslim countries and the Palestine Authority – is officialy “upset” that the Human Rights Council would hold a session / panel about violence stemming from sexual orienation:

OIC States are deeply concerned by the introduction in the Human Rights Council of controversial notions like “sexual orientation and gender identity.” The OIC countries have been consistent in their opposition to the consideration of these controversial notions in the context of human right at international fora.

We are even more disturbed at the attempt to focus on certain persons on the grounds of their abnormal sexual behaviour, while not focusing on the glaring instances of intolerance and discrimination in various parts of the world, be it on the basis of colour, race, gender or religion, to mention only a few.

Please note the letter’s choice of words: “abnormal sexual behaviour” – ??

In an attempt to justify the states’ own bigotry and darkness, Akram continues and says:

It must also be recognized that the international community agreed during the World Conference on Human Rights, held in Vienna in 1993, that while considering the issue of human rights, national and regional particularities and various historical, cultural and religious backgrounds must be borne in mind. From this perspective, the issue of sexual orientation is unacceptable to the OIC.

What Akram is saying (and no country, including the Palestine Authority that this letter is in its’ name, has asked to revoke, condemn or retract) is that the UN has no charter in protecting people’s (by his own words) free choice, whose lifestyle or private activities hurt no one but the people who choose to be religious or close and narrow-minded.

By Akram’s perspective, homosexuality is a preference, and he believes that the human rights council has no place to discuss death penalty in the matters of personal preferences, meaning free choice.

The deperate attempt to rely on religion or history (by the way, Mr Akram, homosexuality preceds your religion, so I suggest you’ll be careful with the historical angle) is simply ludicrous. Represenative to a group that protects nations that stone women to death and hand out the most horrible corporal punishments imaginable for misdemeanors and sometimes made-up offenses), my grievances is not to the bigot from Pakistan or the fanatics in Suadi Arabia, Iran, Mauritania and so on – it’s to the other side of the river.

Palestine Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas, whose own people are executed for homosexuality in the Gaza Strip by the fanatics of Hamas and even more extremists — CONDEMN THIS LETTER IMMEDIATELY!

PS & FYI – I am writing this as a citizen of a country that allows gays & lesbians to serve openly in the military for over a decade now, has four annual gay pride parades and whose near-capital city of Tel-Aviv was recently chosen as the “Best Gay City of 2011.”


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