The Egyptian representative speaks at the UNHRC in Geneva

The Egyptian government has told the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) that gays and lesbian are not real people who require human rights.

Speaking in Geneva on Thursday last week, the Egyptian delegation called on the council to instead focus on those who actually need this protection.

“Concerning the highly controversial notion of sexual orientation, we can only reiterate that it is not part of the universally recognised human rights,” said the Egyptian representative in a statement that he read out to the council.

“We call on Mr. Kiai not to undermine the credibility and legitimacy of his important work in the eyes of real people who actually need it, especially in regions where such concepts are rejected by both its Christian and Muslim inhabitants like the Middle East.”

The comments were in response to the presentation of a report to the council by Maina Kai, the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association.

In his report, Kiai urged countries “to ensure that the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association are enjoyed by everyone”… including those victims of discrimination because of their sexual orientation and gender identity…”

While homosexuality is not specifically outlawed in Egypt, laws protecting traditional Islamic values and “public morality” have been used to target LGBTI people.

Most Middle Eastern and many African countries have rejected efforts by the United Nations Human Rights Council to present LGBTI rights as intrinsic and basic human rights.

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