The Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association (GALHA) has welcomed the statement of The Association of British Muslims urging the UN General Assembly to reverse its vote on the exclusion of sexual orientation from the Resolution on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions.
The UN resolution goes out of its way to strike out the explicit protection that previously existed for sexual orientation, whilst retaining it for a wide range of other categories including persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities, persons acting as human rights defenders (such as lawyers, journalists or demonstrators) as well as street children and members of indigenous communities.
The Association of British Muslims’ statement warned that:
“Removing this clause at this time will send quite the wrong signal to those regimes that indulge in these barbaric practices, implying as it does that United Nations is no longer concerned at the maltreatment of people because of their sexual orientation or considers it to be a lesser matter.
It went on to quote the words of Pastor Niemoller in World War II:
“‘First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a communist’ Then, the socialists, trade unionists, Jews and other groups until finally he writes, ‘Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak out for me’.
GALHA Secretary Mike Rickwood commented:
“We greatly welcome this stance by the Association of British Muslims in defence of human rights. As is well known, Humanists have some important philosophical differences with Muslims and Christians and other religious groups. We nonetheless share a common concern for humanity, and believe that it is right to stand together where basic human rights are concerned.
“The UN resolution is particularly worrying given that the UN has thought it necessary to retain the specific references to so many other groups who may be at risk of persecution. This strongly suggests that gay and lesbian people in particular have every reason to fear the consequences of this protection being removed.
“We call on the British Government to do all they can to reverse this decision.”