The Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) has been forced to drop a proposal to debate an item on the rights of homosexuals over objections from the mainly Muslims and African members.
The proposal moved by the IPU Standing Committee on Democracy and Human Rights was meant for consideration during the next Assembly scheduled for March.
The Speaker of Uganda’s Parliament Rebecca Kadaga, who is the head of the Africa Group which brings together African countries, threatened that the group would keep away from the next meeting if the proposal is allowed.
“On behalf of the Africa Group, I express our reservations about this proposal. It is a highly divisive and led to the breakaway of the Africa Church from the Church of England,” she said, adding: “It should not be part of the agenda. If it happens, Africa Group will not attend.”.
The Committee on Democracy and Human Rights is chaired by Ms. B. Tshireletso (Botswana), who said that the proposal had got overwhelming support in the Committee hence the decision to present it to the Assembly.
The 137th IPU Assembly and Related Meetings was held in St. Petersburg, Russia, 14th – 18th Oct. 2017.
Legislators from Iran also threatened to stay away from the next meeting. Other legislators from Sudan, Morocco, Benin were against the proposal.
However, even with the objections, the final St. Petersburg Declaration, “underscored the fact that all individuals must be allowed the full enjoyment of their equal and inalienable rights recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights and humanitarian law treaties and standards” including non-discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation.
The Assembly was held under the theme: Promoting cultural pluralism and peace through interfaith and inter-ethnic dialogue.
“National authorities and other key stakeholders must work together to build inclusive societies and combat the dissemination of divisive discourses which can give rise to feelings of insecurity among certain groups and encourage the spread of nationalism, extremism and terrorism,” read part of the Declaration.
The 138th IPU Assembly and Related Meetings will be held in Geneva in March 2018.