By Junior Mayema,
NEW YORK, July 10 (C-Fam) Nigeria publicly chastised the UN human rights office for trampling on universally-agreed rights as it seeks to impose same sex marriage and outlaw commonly-held views on homosexuality. The sharp rebuke accused the UN officials of infringing on the right to democracy, religious freedom, and cultural standards that strengthen families.
The statement, delivered last week in Geneva, came in response to a report released last month by the UN human rights office. The report on discrimination and violence against individuals based on sexual orientation and gender identity criticizes laws protecting children from LGBT propaganda and condemns therapy to help people with unwanted sexual attractions. Expressing negative views on homosexuality contributes to violence, the report claims.
The UN report, which governments are free to ignore but which will be used to pressure them, also tells countries to legalize same sex marriage or unions, and provide benefits.
The majority of countries define marriage as the union of a man and woman. Nigeria strengthened its law in 2014.
Nigeria rebuked the UN officials for disrespecting the democratic process and endangering universally-agreed human rights.
Religious freedom and cultural rights are “fundamental parts of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” Nigeria stated. Countries have a “duty to ensure the family values, the religious values and the cultural values of its citizens are protected,” which are “the bedrock of the moral values of the individual.”
Nigeria’s marriage law “is intended to uphold and strengthen these values.”
Nigeria has the largest population in Africa and the majority of its 170 million citizens are Christian or Muslim.
The law “synchronizes” Nigeria’s culture, traditions, and two main religions, all of which reject “unreservedly, same sex marriage, homosexuality, lesbianism, gay and transgender attitudes.”
The Nigerians also said gay rights and orientation “will limit population” and “impose unintended consequences on the family as an institution.”
The UN human rights office ramped up its campaign to promote lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) behavior in 2011, based on a Human Rights Council resolution expressing “grace concern” at violence and discrimination against persons based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The recent report concedes “data are patchy” on homicides. Persons identified as LGBT may be targeted by terrorist groups, and are victims of honor killings.
But the UN report strays from acts of violence to lump in expressing religious beliefs and counseling. It “condemns” reparative therapy to help with unwanted homosexual attractions, and describes statements on homosexuality by Catholic leaders as contributing to stigma and violence against adolescents and children.
Legalizing same sex marriage is not required, the report concedes, yet goes on to tell countries to recognize same sex unions. Countries should run public education campaigns on sexual orientation and repeal policies that impact rights to health, education, work, housing and social security – providing an opening for attacks on faith-based organizations and individuals that decline to participate or assist in homosexual activities.
The UN human rights office is currently mired in scandal and rumors of corruption. Its officials are accused of mishandling an investigation of French soldiers sexually abusing African boys. Staffers are rumored to be cozy with officials from governments seeking to influence decisions inside the UN office.
Nordic countries funded the UN office’s campaign for LGBT rights, even as the UN human rights chief pled for funding to do its basic work.
Privately African and other delegates express immense frustration at what they see as an obsession with LGBT issues by UN personnel and some governments.
Another link on backlash at the UN on LGBT rights is below :
UN passes ‘unprecedented’ pro-family resolution, outraging sexual radicals
GENEVA, July 9, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – A pro-family resolution has been passed by the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva of “unprecedented” force and reach, thanks to a coalition of African and other developing countries, China and Russia and a support group of socially conservative NGOs.
“This is unprecedented, a tremendous victory for the family,” Sharon Slater, the head of Family Watch International, told LifeSiteNews. “It is the first time ever in the history of the United Nations that a comprehensive resolution has been passed calling for the protection of the family as a fundamental unit of society, recognizing the prior right of parents to educate their children, and calling on all nations to create family-sensitive policies and recognize their binding obligations under treaty to protect the family.”
The voting on the “Protection of the Family” resolution was 27 for and 14 against, Slater noted. Those opposing the motion included the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland and other Western European countries, while its sponsors included Russia, China, Belarus, and more than a dozen Muslim and African countries. The four abstaining members of the council—Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Macedonia—probably were forced to do so by the rich countries opposing the bill.
“The developed countries probably put huge pressure on the others to stop the bill or insert amendments undermining its intent by threatening to withhold foreign aid,” said Slater. “We applaud those who were able to stand up for the family, and we ask people to write to them to thank them.” (FWI provides a webpage to help people send these supportive letters.)
Austin Ruse of the Center for Family and Human Rights (C-FAM), also termed the resolution “a tremendous victory for the pro-family world” and a defeat for the small but powerful group of anti-family groups supported by developed countries and the United States. Several attempts were made by feminist and pro-LGBT groups to first defeat and then amend the resolution by inserting “reproductive rights”–a euphemism for abortion, and by replacing “the family” with “families” and by inserting inclusive language to apply the resolution to sexual minorities.
The passage of the resolution was predictably condemned by feminist and sexual advocacy groups. The Sexual Rights Initiative, for example, called it “a set back to the advancement of the human rights of individuals as it seeks to elevate the family as an institution in need of protection without acknowledging the harms and human rights abuses that are known to occur within families, or recognizing that diverse forms of family exist.”
Specifically, it claimed, “Families perpetuate patriarchal oppression, traditions and harmful practices, and…human rights abuses do occur within families (i.e., marital rape, child abuse, FGM [female genital mutilation], early and forced marriage, dowry related violence, so-called ‘honour’ killings and other forms of domestic violence).”
Nonetheless, said Ruse, “The globe was with us on this resolution. Only a small number of countries backed the LGBT agenda. You can be certain the United States lobbied with great energy against this resolution. Supporting the LGBT agenda is a primary objective of U.S. foreign policy.”
Slater said the resolution was particularly significant because its preamble assembled dozens of past UN resolutions, binding treaties and foundational declarations, all recognizing “the family” as a cornerstone of society, a defender of human rights, a transmitter of social, cultural and religious values, primary educator of youth, and, just in time for current negotiations at the UN in New York City on sustainable development, a positive force for economic development.
Significantly, the resolution also recognized the family as a “crosscutting” value—one that national policy makers must avoid weakening in pursuit of other policy goals.
Ruse said that the UN bureaucracy, including the High Commission on Human Rights, act as if the United Nations already protect sexual orientation or gender identity from discrimination, even though this has not been recognized in resolutions. “The bureaucracy is out of control.”
Nonetheless, said FWI’s Slater, the passage of such a powerful resolution will undermine efforts of feminist or LGBT lobbyists to use the UN to bend individual countries to their agenda. “The next step is to get pro-family language and policies included in the policies on sustainable development,” said Slater.
The victory marks the growing impact of the UN Family Rights Caucus, a coalition of pro-family NGOs that supported the national delegations in Geneva.
And here is another interesting article about Africa below :
Should we call Africa homophobic?
Western journalists and scholars shape much of the discussion about same-sex issues in Africa. Headlines from Western media houses read: “An African epidemic of homophobia,” “Why Africa is the most homophobic continent” and “Why Africa’s Turning Anti-Gay.”
The “Africa as homophobic” narrative has even found a loyal following among people who consider themselves skeptics of standard Western portrayals of Africa. For example, students in my African politics courses and in audiences where I present research about sexual minority politics typically hold the belief that Africa is the worst place in the world to be gay.
Two data-driven projects highlight Africa as particularly anti-gay. Perhaps the most striking image is a map of the world created by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) highlighting countries with laws criminalizing homosexuality. Africa and the Middle East stand out.
Public opinion surveys and legal analysis allow us to compare cross-nationally the state of same-sex politics around the world. But in these studies, Western researchers are in the driver’s seat. Where are the African scholars of same-sex issues in Africa?
The prominence of Western scholars in discussion of same-sex issues in Africa can perpetuate the myth that “non-normative sexualities are not a topic of particular interest to African intellectuals.”
That quote comes from the recently published “Sexual Diversity in Africa: Politics, Theory, Citizenship,” a volume of essays edited by political scientist S.N. Nyeck and historian Marc Epprecht. It complements other recently released volumes covering the politics of non-normative sexualities in Africa, including a reader edited by Ugandan legal scholar Sylvia Tamale.
The Nyeck and Epprecht volume emerged from a workshop and subsequentconference that brought together activists and scholars from North America and the African continent to discuss scholarship on gender and sexualities in Africa.
Topics in the edited volume range from the challenges faced by African refugees who have sought or are seeking asylum in Canada to the controversy surrounding the gender identity of South African track star Caster Semenya to rhetorical analysis of Gambian President Yaya Jammeh’s threats to behead homosexuals.
The chapter that changed my thinking about “African homophobia” was written by Nyeck and titled, “Mobilizing against the Invisible: Erotic Nationalism, Mass Media, and the ‘Paranoid Style’ in Cameroon.” In it, Nyeck disrupts the commonly held view among scholars that homophobia in Africa is a simple form of political demagoguery.
How might our perspectives shift if the researchers studying same-sex issues in Africa were from Africa? The Nyeck and Epprecht volume (like the Tamale reader) show much more diversity and nuance than a map or bar graph. Students in my seminar on same-sex politics in Africa learned a lot from the volume and found it one of the few accessible scholarly resources from which they could draw on experiences of women who have sex with women in Africa.
Perhaps relevant to equality activists, African researchers could be even more powerful than Western researchers as advocates for the rights of sexual minorities. Just last month, the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) issued a report that concluded that “variation in sexual identities and orientations has always been part of a normal society” and that efforts should “be focused on countering the belief systems that create hostile and even violent environments for those who are ‘othered’ within ‘heteronormative’ societies.”
The Ugandan National Academy of Sciences collaborated on the ASSAf report and endorsed its findings. Ugandan researchers’ endorsement of the report stands in stark contrast to the current state of sexual minority politics in Uganda, where the Anti-Homosexuality Bill was signed into law in 2014 (the Constitutional Court of Uganda later ruled the law invalid).
Unlike maps of criminalizing homosexuality or bar charts capturing public opinion rejection of homosexuality, this report by African scientists and scholars unequivocally accepting of diversity in human sexuality was not widely reported. (Granted, Slate featured a post by two South African scientists and Nature also summarized the report’s findings.)
See our earlier posts in this year’s African Politics Summer Reading Spectacular:
- ‘Protest is always hopeful’: Examining the third wave of popular protest in Africa (Adam Branch, Kim Yi Dionne, and Zachariah Mampilly)
- Governance, gender and no guarantees in Africa’s oil-rich states(Celeste Hicks and Laura Seay)
- What are the drivers of Nigeria’s ‘ups and downs’? (Kim Yi Dionne and Carl Levan)
- Is ‘China in Africa’ something to fear? (Howard French and Laura Seay)