WATCH: UN Secretary General says 'the time is now' as members walk out
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
The United Nations Human Rights Council held a first-of-its-kind discussion on the global rights of LGBT world-citizens. Though several Arab and African states staged a walkout in protest, the importance of this historic meeting remained key.
UN council meeting saw the 47-member panel gather for its first-ever session on sexual orientation-based discrimination and violence, according to human rights group Care2.
In a video message to the council UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon called persecution of people based on their sexual orientation an “attack on the universal values that the United Nations and I have sworn to defend and uphold.”
It is estimated that 76 of the UN’s 192 member countries criminalize homosexuality, while at least 5 countries, including Iran, impose the death penalty.
The walkout staged during this historic meeting was preceded by a warning from Saeed Sarwar of the Pakistani mission who argued against promoting “licentious behavior.”
“Licentious behavior promoted under the so-called concept of sexual orientation is against the fundamental teachings of various religions, including Islam,” he said. “From this perspective, legitimizing homosexuality and other personal sexual behaviors in the name of sexual orientation is unacceptable.”
Speaking on behalf of the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Sarwar urged the council not take up the subject of gay rights again.
Later, most Arab and African nations walked out of the debate.