A United Nations expert has sided with homosexual and transgender people against the religions of the U.N.’s member nations.
Notably, the expert also objected to religions that outlaw adultery and abortion.
Laws based on the religious conviction that homosexuality is damaging and wrong should be repealed, and gender-based violence carried out in the name of religion by non-State groups must be addressed, an independent UN expert said on Monday in a report presented to the Human Rights Council.
“I firmly reject any claim that religious beliefs can be invoked as a legitimate ‘justification’ for violence or discrimination against women, girls or LGBT+ people”, said Ahmed Shaheed, UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, noting that “the right to freedom of religion protects individuals and not religions as such.”
In his report, the UN expert urges nations to throw out gender-based discrimination laws, including those enacted with reference to religious convictions that criminalize adultery; actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity; criminalize abortion in all cases; and facilitate religious practices that violate human rights.
“Women and LGBT+ people experience discrimination and violence inflicted in the name of religion by State and non-State actors that impedes their ability to fully enjoy their human rights, including their right to freedom of religion or belief,” said Mr. Shaheed.
The independent expert also expressed concern at the rise in political campaigns, and those carried out by religious institutions and their followers, that invoke religious freedom to seek to roll back human rights that he called fundamental to gender equality.
Special Rapporteurs are part of what are known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. The appointed experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary. They are independent of any government or organization and serve entirely in their individual capacity.