New UN president disses gays

by Rex Wockner

International News Briefs

The new president of the United Nations General Assembly, former Libyan Foreign Minister Ali Abdussalam Treki, expressed disapproval of gays Sept. 15.

Asked about last year's General Assembly statement by 66 nations urging decriminalization of gay sex worldwide, Treki said: "As a Muslim, I am not in favor of that. I believe it is not accepted by the majority of countries (and) it is not really acceptable by our religion, our tradition."

Treki reportedly went on to say that some countries think allowing homosexuality is "a kind of democracy (but) I think it is not."

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, denounced the remarks.

"The anti-gay bigotry spewed by this Qaddafi shill demonstrates once again that the UN has been hijacked by advocates of hate and intolerance," Ros-Lehtinen said. "Likewise, the leadership of the UN Development Program is held by the Iranian regime, which denies the presence of gays in Iran even as it murders them and other innocent citizens. We must ensure that billions annually in U.S. taxpayer dollars no longer foot the bill for the UN's anti-freedom agenda without significant reform."

The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association said it was "deeply worried and outraged" by Treki's statements.

"The worrying and serious implications of this attitude, coming from the new head of an institution which is supposed to regard human rights - all human rights - as the most sacred value, cannot be overstated," ILGA Co-Secretaries General Gloria Careaga and Renato Sabbadini said. "We appeal to the representatives of the states which signed the statement against criminalization of homosexuality, but also voted for the election of Mr. Treki in his new position, to demand an explanation (from) the UN Assembly president for his words and react consequently."

The president of the European Parliament's Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights, Michael Cashman, called on Treki to "think again."

"He is there to defend the principles of the United Nations and that includes the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Act ... all following amendments and covenants of rights, including LGBT human rights," Cashman said. "Such statements are totally inappropriate and unacceptable. He must now speak on behalf of those who do not have a voice and forget his religious beliefs which must remain private. He must realize that the implications of his words could legitimize violence towards LGBT people."

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