Gay activists criticize the Emirates attempt to ‘pick and choose’ what constitutes human rights
The United Arab Emirates was elected last month to a seat in the UN Human Rights Council despite criticism from the UAE LGBT rights group.
The group called upon the UAE to respect the universality of human rights of which LGBT rights are inseparable, as well as suggested starting a dialgoue.
In response, Abdul Ghaffar Hussain, chairman of United Arab Emirates (UAE) Human Rights Association, wrote in the daily GulfNews last week: ‘In the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, particularly the UAE, absolute political and social freedom is not desperately needed.
‘…Such freedoms do not yield any positive outcomes’ rather these are ‘meaningless social and political freedoms’ which ‘only result in controversies’ rather than ‘a decent standard of living’.
He further called: ‘Let us set aside the strange calls that do not match the ambitions and aspirations of rational Emirati citizens.
‘The UAE is determined to press ahead towards achieving social justice and security, and protecting the country from all forms of evil and social diseases.’
According to Abdulla, the chair of the UAE LGBT group, his statement was a direct dismissal of the group’s call for the country to respect LGBT rights.
Abdulla said: ‘His portrayal of our calls as “strange”, “not matching the ambitions and aspirations of rational Emirati citizens” and characterization of us as “forms of evil and social diseases” show the UAE is not prepared to accept the universality of human rights of which LGBT rights are an inseparable part.
‘To assume that a population of almost 8 million, does not desperately need social and political freedom is short sighted, not to mention out of touch and ignorant.
‘Such comments cannot reflect a true view of chairman of a human rights association.
‘If by social disease he means to say ”homosexuality”, he needs to know that being LGBT is a human reality, one that is very much a part of the Arab society and Islamic culture and will continue to be.
‘We are members of the Emirati society and whether he knows or does not acknowledge it: we have contributed immensely and will continue to do so in all fields.
‘Theology or personal religious convictions should not be an excuse to exclude and cherry pick certain rights and ignore others.
‘I believe that it is our duty as Emirati citizens to point out the wrongs and voice our concerns and wants to the government, than to sit idly by and accept what Hussain thinks what my generation does or does not need.
‘You can not pick and choose human rights – we need to do away with the ”we know best” mentality and actually engage with our society regarding the rights of all.
‘I implore Hussain to abide by the international definition of human rights as codified by the UN in ”The Universal declaration of human rights” as a guideline to our rights as citizens, and to honor the seat that was awarded to our country, before making blatant statements about withholding these rights.’
by Dan Littauer
Source – Gay Star News