On 12 September 2012 there will be a Regional Consultation on the Drafting of an ASEAN Human Rights Declaration. There will be attempts by LGBTs, NGOs, and various other activists to include LGBT rights and the right of absolute freedom of religion in the Declaration. Were ASEAN to endorse such rights in the final Declaration, Malaysia as a Muslim-majority country would have to reiterate her strong objections; as such a policy clearly contradicts the principles enshrined in the religion of Islam.
A recent ASEAN Peoples Forum adopted the strategy of including LGBTIQ activists on the Drafting Committee of the conference to ensure that issues concerning Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) and LGBTIQ rights be retained. King Oey from Indonesia and Ryan Sylverio were present and they managed to negotiate and make sure that this goal was achieved, in spite of the clear reservations of Malaysia, Brunei, and Cambodia.
The LGBT activists reported their participation as follows (in italics):
Success! LGBTIQ presence in the ASEAN Civil Society Conference/ASEAN Peoples’ Forum was a success! The momentum and visibility of SOGI rights were maintained and strengthened by the increased number of allies from mainstream civil society organizations who clearly see LGBT rights as human rights. This growing alliance will be important in the months ahead.
Realistically, there are strong efforts from countries such as Burma, Malaysia and Brunei to make sure SOGI will not be in the final declaration. But as I’ve stated publicly: “We may not be successful in the inclusion of SOGI in the ASEAN Declaration of Human Rights but we want to make sure that SOGI is in the hearts and minds of every activist. We want to be sure that in all programs and advocacies you do, you make SOGI a part of it. Then we can say we did more than simply have SOGI on paper.”
Here is an abstract from the LGBT undocumented summary of what they call “human rights abuses” directed against their members:
“In Brunei, Burma, Malaysia and Singapore, colonial laws that criminalize SOGI are used to harass, extort money and demand sexual favours, arrest, detain and persecute LGBTIQ persons. In the Philippines and Indonesia, anti-trafficking or pornographic laws are used to conduct illegal raids at gay establishments and detain LGBTIQ people. The anti-kidnapping law in the Philippines is used to forcibly break apart lesbian couples in legitimate and consensual relationships. In Cambodia, a lesbian was imprisoned following a homophobic complaint by the family of her partner because of their relationship. In Thailand, the negligence of the state is clearly manifested in the refusal to investigate the killings of fifteen lesbians and gender-variant women. The existence of the pornographic law in Indonesia, which haphazardly included SOGI as pornography, is used by several internet providers to block websites of legitimate LGBTIQ organization such as the International Gay Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGHLRC) and the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Association (ILGA) websites. In Malaysia, Seksualiti Merdeka, an annual sexuality festival was disrupted and banned by the police as the festival was deemed a “threat to national security”.
Continuing to claim human rights to a population of “animal souls”, they carry on:
Basic human (sic!) rights, such as the right to healthcare, housing and education, are denied on the basis our SOGI. This has contributed to the steep rise in HIV infection amongst most at-risk populations: men who have sex with men and transgendered people. Archaic laws that criminalize SOGI make it even more difficult in implementing life-saving interventions to at-risk groups.
(It seems that the spread of AIDS and HIV is the fault of normal people, not the LGBTs themselves.)
Even with all the hurdles and challenges faced by the LGBTIQ movement in Asia, our numbers and strength has been steadily growing. We have come at the stage in our struggle for equality and respect that we will never accept discrimination, abuse and violence a part of our existence by the denial of our rights and our humanity.
(Well of course, the bottom line is that they are behaving in ways that are not human.)
It is in this spirit of pride and dignity that we are reclaiming our rightful space in our respective countries and in our region, and demand our governments to:
Include SOGI provision into the ASEAN Declaration on Human Rights, specifically inclusion of reference to ‘gender identity’ and ‘sexual orientation’ within Article 2.
Immediately repeal laws that directly and indirectly criminalize SOGI, recognizes LGBTIQ rights as human rights, and harmonizes national laws, policies and practices with the Yogyakarta Principles.
(Anti-LGBT laws are not derived from “colonial powers” as such, nor from the secular intellectuals who framed these ubiquitous “Yogyakarta Principles”. They are derived from medical opinion that LGBT behaviour is essentially pathological.)
Establish national level mechanisms and review existing regional human rights instruments (e.g. AICHR, ACWC) to include the promotion and protection of the equal rights of all people regardless of SOGI with the active engagement of the LGBTIQ community.
(They are demanding nothing less than a social recognition that would be confusing and destructive to the development and witness of our own children.)
Depathologize SOGI and promote psychological well being of people of Diverse SOGI in accordance with the World Health Organization (WHO) standards, and ensure equal access to health and social services.
(Of course, this is the central point. Either we follow universal medical designation of the pathology of LGBT behaviour, or we make these specious arguments based on various forms of illogic).
On one hand, we have to seriously consider the normalization and legalization of homosexuality in the West have been done in the manner and process that involved much dishonesty, deception and intimidation. For example, the decision to declassify homosexuality as a psychological disease was fairly recent made as 1973 by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) due to intimidation and lobbying by gay groups and not based not medical or scientific evidence, or even if there were, are drawn from studies that “lack basic research necessities” and often sugar-coated with the language of science. This was even reported in Newsweek;
“But even more than the government, it is the psychiatrists who have experienced the full range of the homosexual activists. Over the past two years, gay-lib organizations have repeatedly disrupted medical meetings, and three months ago—in the movements most aggressive demonstration so far—a group of 30 militants broke into a meeting of the American Psychiatric Association in Washington, where they turned the staid proceedings into near chaos for twenty minutes. ‘We are here to denounce your authority to call us sick or mentally disordered,’ shouted the group’s leader, Dr. Franklin Kameny, while the 2,000 shocked psychiatrists looked on in disbelief. ‘For us, as homosexuals, your profession is the enemy incarnate. We demand that psychiatrists treat us as human beings, not as patients to be cured!’” (Newsweek, 8-23-71, p.47)
How can we grant rights on group of individuals that fight their cause by resorting to indecent tactics? Moreover, are we expected believe that once they have been given their so-called “rights”, they will stop at just that and not demand anything else based on their whims and fancies?
On the other hand, we can look at the so-called LGBT community schizophrenic inability to argue whether it is a psychological disease, a genetic condition that one is born with or simply a lifestyle choice.
The similar fallacy of the genetic argument is apparent in a so-called scientific point of view that a homosexual’s brain is somewhat different than that of a heterosexual to say they are born as homosexuals and therefore unable to change. To this we can argue that how they are so sure that the difference is not caused by acting out homosexual acts rather than a condition one is born in. For example, according to a research from University College London, a taxi driver’s part of the brain called the hippocampus enlarges and adapts to help them navigate the city but this does not mean in any way that one is born predisposed to drive a taxi.
The 12 September 2012 Regional Consultation is expected to submit a revised draft of an ASEAN Human Rights Declaration for Leaders’ signing at the 21st ASEAN Summit to be held in November 2012. In it, you will see the disregard for medical opinion, the politicization of all gender issues, and demands for recognition for public behaviour that has never been publically endorsed in most previous cultures, and certainly not in any major religion.
You will see the immense pressure on ASEAN governments, particularly on the Malaysian government, to subscribe and submit to the “Yogyakarta Principles” of 2006, in fear of the upcoming 2013 United Nations’ Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Malaysia’s Human Rights situation, which will inevitably be a review of Malaysia’s LGBT policy and rights. If Malaysians and their friends do not take a firm stand against deviation from the teachings of all major and revealed religions, they may well suffer the punishment of others who have disregarded the Qur’anic principles at some point on the stage of human organization.
What is to be done? Muslim scholars and leaders, Islamic NGO activists and government representatives to the forthcoming Regional Consultation must make it clear that Malaysia has already expressed an unalterable position on LGBTs. Malaysia, together with OIC member states objected to the 17/19 UN Resolution on LGBTs, as well as objecting directly to the Human Rights Council Chair in Geneva. Please refer to my previous articles here, here and here.
Malaysian and those who are against LGBT rights are thereby protecting the human race from the secular fallacy, perpetrated by the United Nations, that human beings may do as they please, within their so-called “sovereign borders” (as laid down by the European powers). Facing the hostility of the secular world today, which controls most of human wealth, is no different from what the previous generations faced in their times, against the non-believers and the secular minds. It will be difficult, but the test of our faith is that we must nevertheless defend the veracity of Divine Laws among us. We must witness this veracity to the entire human race. Therefore, the upcoming UPR of Human Rights in Geneva may be the one of the real tests for Muslims living in this so-called “modern world”.
May Allah help us all, and witness our intention to defend His Presence and the presence of His Laws, among us, AMIN.
AZRIL MOHD AMIN is vice president of the Muslim Lawyers Association of Malaysia’s.