UNHRC: Unsettled on “Re-settling” the LGBTQ

BY ANDREA MORANTE, The New York Times

BOSTON, Mass. (New York Times) — According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word “hypocrisy” stands for “a behavior that contradicts what one does or feel.” This word may apply to numerous real-life settings ranging from the behavior of politicians who do not adhere to the legislature that they have worked to set out, to the behavior of advocates who violently strive for peace. In Harvard National Model United Nations, the word “hypocrisy” can certainly fit to describe the behavior of member states who aim for the protection of populations that they themselves are marginalizing.

In this Second Committee Session, the Delegation of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) shared an initiative to member states at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) that received divided support. With the name of “Reallocation For Safety (RFS),” the initiative would aim to offer a state run program “meant to protect both the physical integrity of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community” while at the same time also “respecting both the principle of sovereignty and the traditional and religious values of each society.”

“The objective of the initiative does look to solve what we are all here for,” stated the Delegation of the United States of America (USA). However, according to the USA, the steps upon with this objective that the UAE has proposed will “have to be regarded with caution.”

The SFS can be broken down into five different steps: the identification of LGBTQ individuals through a database; the providing of psychiatric evaluation and treatment to LGBTQ individuals who voluntarily accept the service; the providing of different reallocation opportunities for LGBTQ, where their moral values and practices are respected; the granting of residence for these LGBTQ individuals; and lastly the connotation to their country’s legislation if the LGBTQ individuals under the initiative decide to maintain at their country of residency.

The implications that this initiative could have in the international community is widely concerning. For instance, the intentions behind an initiative like this raises questions in regard to the way in which “Violence against the LGBTQ” is aimed to be approached. Are member states such as the UAE working for prevention or for avoidance? If concerned about the principle of sovereignty, will inviting LGBTQ individuals out of member states’ out of their own nations work for protecting this principle? Moreover, the implications that an initiative such as SFS will have on the LGBTQ community is even more worrisome. The UAE has not yet mentioned how it will look to assure the safe reallocation of LGBTQ individuals, neither has it worked to address the role that family might place in the acceptance or denying of psychiatric services.  

So far, the initiative has received support from some Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) member states such as India, Indonesia, and Qatar. It is yet expected to see the SFS initiative and other programs placed by these member states when Draft Resolutions are presented. It is hoped that a critical eye will be placed on the proposals given by member states, and that above all violence against the LGBTQ can be successfully prevented.

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