Middle Eastern country faced criticism for acts of torture against LGBTI people
Saudi Arabia convicts homosexuality with anything from whipping to a death sentence.
Saudi Arabia has said it will support human rights as long as they can still kill LGBTI people.
Earlier this week, the country was heavily criticized during a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
It was pointed out that punishing homosexuality with life imprisonment, torture, chemical castration, whipping and the death penalty does not fit in with internationally recognized human rights protecting people on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
But government officials have said calls for Saudi Arabia to support LGBTI rights were ‘unacceptable’ and a ‘flagrant interference in its internal affairs’.
Faisal bin Hasan Trad, Saudi Arabia’s representative at the UN, said the country will not tolerate criticism of its human rights record.
According to Arab News, Trad said ‘some were attempting to portray the country in a bad light’.
The country’s Interior Ministry confirmed on Twitter: ‘Saudi Arabia opposes any resolution for gay rights. Saudi Arabia reaffirms its support for human rights, and respect towards all international conventions, as long as it is in accordance with Islamic law.’
The LGBTI community is forced to go underground in Saudi Arabia, mostly in the capital Riyadh. But the religious police are cracking down.
Several men were arrested in a raid on two ‘gay parties’ earlier this month. And last year, a 24-year-old was sentenced to jail and 450 lashings of a whip just because he was trying to meet other gay men on Twitter.
Source: Gay Star News, June 26, 2015
Saudi Arabia busts two gay parties
Several people arrested in swoops in Jeddah’s Harzat area
Manama: Authorities in Saudi Arabia arrested several people in the Red Sea city of Jeddah following raids on two parties in which most participants were homosexuals.
The raids were conducted simultaneously at dawn on Saturday in the Harzat area, known for its recreational facilities, local news site Sabq reported.
Security staff and members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice noted down the numbers on the licence plates of the cars parked near the party venues before they stormed the premises. The vehicle details were recorded so as to ensure that those who managed to escape the raid would be tracked down and arrested.
“The raids led to the arrest of several people, mainly gays, and netted locally produced alcoholic drinks and hashish,” sources said. “Those who were arrested were referred to a police station while those who fled the premises will be summoned since they were all identified.”
Homosexuality and cross-dressing are social and legal offences in Saudi Arabia and other GCC countries. Reactions from social media users to the raids mostly touched on the need to mete out tough punishment to those found to be involved so that it would act as a strong deterrent. Some users even suggested that those who took part in the party be secluded for five years in remote areas.
In November, a court in the port city of Dammam in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province sentenced a homosexual man to three years in jail for engaging in “immoral acts.” The man, in his 30s, was also ordered to pay a 100,000 Saudi riyal fine by the court.
According to a report in Sabq, the man was apprehended by the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice after he posted pictures of himself naked on social media and offered to have sex for free with other men. “Offensive” pictures and chats with other people were found on his confiscated mobile phone, Sabq said.
In October, police in Kuwait arrested 23 cross-dressers and homosexuals after they busted a “wild party” held at a chalet in the south of the country.
Lawmakers have been pushing for a crackdown on homosexuality, including the adoption of tougher immigration measures against expatriate homosexuals, including their prompt deportation.
In 2013, a suggestion by a health official to bar homosexual and transgender foreigners from working in the GCC, as published in a local daily, raised a storm that eventually cooled off after officials clarified that the proposal was the personal view of the official and did not reflect the government policy.
Source: Gulf News, June 14, 2015