"I find it difficult to engage in an exercise which is contrary to my convictions and the values I stand for," the Egyptian diplomat said.
Last Friday, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) set out to appoint its first ever monitor against violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity, but an Egyptian diplomat on the panel boycotted the mandate.
The envoy, Egypt’s ambassador to the UNHRC Amr Ramadan, is part of a five-member committee appointed by the organisation to evaluate candidates for UNHRC expert positions, but the diplomat refused to participate in the selection process, according to a report circulated by the president of UNHRC. In a letter sent to the council, Ramadan alleged that such a mandate is contrary to the values he stands for. “I find it difficult to engage in an exercise which is contrary to my convictions,” he said.
The diplomat insisted that the mandate does not fall under universally recognised human rights and fundamental freedoms, saying that it "utterly disregards the principle of universality of internationally agreed human rights as outlined in international human rights law,” he said in a letter published by UN Watch.
Following the election – with the absence of the Egyptian representative - the Consultative Group appointed Bangkok law professor Vitit Muntarbhorn as anti-gay violence monitor.
But Ramadan insisted in his letter that the mandate was created under “unprecedented divisiveness and polarization.” He stated that the resolution should be implemented "while ensuring respect for the sovereign right of each country, its national laws, and the various religious and ethical values and backgrounds." Furthermore, he reiterated that the OIC— the powerful UN group comprised of 56 Islamic states and the Palestinians — should boycott this mandate and “not recognize its creation.”
Main image by Ludovic Bertron, licensed under Creative Commons.