In Bahrain, another ripple from UN historic vote on LGBT rights

Published: June 28, 2011

At the beginning of the year we reported on how the overturning of a vote at the United Nations to exclude sexual orientation from a resolution against extrajudicial killings has sparked reaction all around the world.

The 17 June vote at the UN Human Rights Council, which backed LGBT human rights for the first time, is causing similar ripples.

In Bahrain, that country’s vote against LGBT human rights caused an unprecedented statement from civil society.

The Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society secretary-general Faisal Fulad said it was time the rights of gays, lesbians and transsexuals were recognised.

"There are gay MPs in Europe and hundreds of societies working actively to protect their rights worldwide," he said.

"Either we accept this or reject it. There is no other option in our society. These people have their rights that should be respected. I am not saying not to respect religion and culture, but gradual acceptance can slowly change the mindset."

Former Bahrain Human Rights Society secretary-general Abdulla Al Deerazi agreed:

"They are first human beings and have their rights. They have their freedom of choice which cannot be ignored but respected," he said.

"This UN resolution is a step forward recognising them in society. But the challenge is social sensitivity to this subject coupled with religious beliefs of people. They are living like any other citizen and should enjoy full rights."
Mr Fulad said gays and lesbians were often considered carriers of diseases.

"Some even consider them untouchable. But they have their own culture that is growing worldwide."
The Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society, (BHRWS) was established in November 2004 to protect housemaids and to fight for women’s rights.

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