Here are two ‘interesting’ arguments from Usman Sarki’s rebuff to the UN over LGBT rights
Nigerian Ambassador, Usman Sarki, has admonished the United Nations (UN) for trying to continuously press for support and acceptance of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community and same-sex marriage done under the guise of human rights advocacy, even though their agenda clearly runs contrary to the values and interests of the organisation’s member states. Sarki voiced his disapproval at the national representatives meeting which held on the 4th of February in New York.
According to the ambassador, the UN’s activism on such a sensitive matter is offensive to the member states’ religious, cultural, and traditional beliefs and tenets of the law. Furthermore, he reminded the UN that the organisation is run by member states, and said states would prefer if the UN limited its activities to suit their mandates, rather than encouraging “aberrant behaviour.”
Sarki stated that he was also speaking on behalf of millions of Nigerians who are “distressed and alarmed” at the actions of the UN as regards the issue of promoting LGBT activities, further displayed by the organisation’s issuance of postage stamps in advancement of the status of LGBTs through the Free and Equal campaign on February 5. To this end, he is calling on a cancellation of the stamps and an end to funds and programs that promote and legitimise homosexuality and transgenderism.
This provocative statement by Sarki was however rapidly attacked by Leo Igwe, a renowned Nigerian humanist who accused the ambassador of “championing a homophobic agenda at the UN” in an article posted on the NewsGhana website. Igwe, in his response to Sarki’s condemnation, countered that millions of Nigerians, who are in fact more worried about issues such as poverty, insecurity, and unemployment, actually rely on the UN to deliver them from oppression and persecution.
Igwe and Sarki both made compelling points for the two sides of the apparent LGBT argument in Nigeria, although some points were more notable than others, inspiring the quest for exploration and better understanding of the facts that surround their claims as well as the UN’s relentless quest for equal LGBT rights.
Issues that are “beneficial to mankind”… according to Usman Sarki?
All of the biggest topics today under the subject of things that qualify as ‘beneficial to mankind’ remain health, climate change, security, governance, population and much more. However, they all lead back to the crucial components that make all of them necessary in the first place – the humans. And it is for this reason that human rights, more importantly, the protection of them, are equally one of the most important and easily the most controversial issues throughout the globe.
This is where the UN comes in. The organisation is mandated to protect the rights of minorities, which includes sexual minorities, as one of its obligations where human rights are concerned.
In Nigeria, homosexuality carries a capital punishment according to Sharia Law in some states in the North, such as Kaduna, Jigawa, Borno and a 14-year prison sentence in other parts of the country. This is based on the religious and moral beliefs of the majority of its citizens. Sarki’s statement on what counts as beneficial to mankind and what doesn’t therefore becomes dubitable, when people are killed or jailed because their lifestyle choice is offensive to the sensibilities of some others.
His statement on the matter suggests that the UN should leave a certain group of humans eternally vulnerable to oppression and violence and unprotected by human rights laws because their society appears to have no room for them and their ‘unnatural’ activities.
Nigeria and a homophobic agenda – Igwe’s take
Sarki never disguised the homophobic agenda of Nigeria at the UN in his concluding statements… As the last bastion of hope, the UN should side with the minorities in fighting oppression and persecution by member states.
According to the humanist/activist, the Nigerian ambassador in question has done little to solve the problems of insecurity and poverty that the country is facing with his position at the UN, but instead shows a zeal in trying to nullify a stamp that recognises the human rights of LGBTs in Nigeria.
The result of a 2013 survey conducted by the Pew Research Centre, which shows the global variations in the level of tolerance and acceptance that homosexuals receive, proved that Africa remains the most intolerant place for homosexuals, while also establishing a link to religiosity.
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