The UN Security Council has held its first-ever meeting on LGBT rights. US Ambassador Samantha Power called it a sign that gay rights are “being injected into the mainstream at the United Nations,” as she called on all countries, including her own nation, to do more to promote human rights for gay people. The Obama administration lauded Monday’s meeting as “historic” and “long overdue”.
Organized by the U.S. Missions at the UN and Chile, the event was open to all United Nations member states. Security Council members Chad and Angola stayed away, while China, Malaysia, Nigeria and Russia sent representatives but did not make a statement, according to Yahoo News.
The meeting focussed on the treatment of gay people at the hands of Islamic militants in the Middle East, taking evidence from two men: ‘Adnan’ (not his real name) who fled ISIS in northern Iraq, and Subhi Nahas, a gay man and LGBT advocate who fled Syria after being threatened by Jabat al Nusra. He received further threats from ISIS at his new homes in Lebanon and then Turkey, eventually moving the United States.
“In the Islamic State, gays are being tracked and killed all the time,” said Nahas. “At the executions, hundreds of townspeople including children cheered jubilantly as at a wedding.”
Adnan, who spoke by phone from an undisclosed location in the Middle East told the meeting that ISIS fighters “are professional when it comes to tracking gay people. They hunt them down one by one. When they capture people, they go through the person’s phone and contacts and Facebook friends.
“They are trying to track down every gay man. And it’s like dominoes. If one goes, the others will be taken down too.”
— UKUN_NewYork (@UKUN_NewYork) August 24, 2015
Earlier this year, Breitbart reported on ISIS’ practice of setting “honeytraps” for gay men as part of its “crusade against homosexuality”. According to dissident groups working in the area, ISIS religious police have begun pretending to be gay men in order to ferret others out, before arresting and executing them.
Also present to give evidence was Jessica Stern, representing the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, who told those present that ISIS jihadists have already claimed responsibility for at least 30 executions for sodomy, releasing at least seven videos and photos of the events online for the world to see.
In her remarks, Power commented: “ISIL does not try to hide its crimes against LGBT persons – it broadcasts them for all the world to see. Many of us have seen the videos. ISIL parading a man through the streets and beating him – for being gay. ISIL marching men to the tops of buildings and throwing them to their deaths – for being gay.
“In one of these videos, allegedly from Syria, we are told that the victim was found to be having a gay affair. He is blindfolded, walked up stairs of a building, and then heaved off its roof. His suffering did not end there. The victim miraculously survived the fall, only to be stoned to death by a mob that waited for him below. Kids in the crowd were reportedly encouraged to grab stones and take part.”
More than 75 of the United Nations’ 193 member-states have laws on their books criminalizing homosexuality. Power told her colleagues: “in too many parts of the world, denying LGBT rights is still seen as moral and just. Laws are used to criminalize LGBT persons, rather than to prosecute the people who violate their rights. That must change.
“The effort to defend the equal rights of LGBT persons must also be waged within every one of our countries, even those where important progress has been made – and that includes in the United States. For just as this year we have made tremendous strides in advancing LGBT rights in the United States, we are under no illusion that the work is finished. Every one of our countries can and must do more to advance these rights domestically.”