New York: The UN Human Rights Council has called on the government of Afghanistan to abolish prosecution of the LGBT community on the grounds of so-called “moral crimes” because of their sexual orientation.
Other issues addressed include the death penalty, anti-gay discrimination, and impunity, according to trust.org.
Afghanistan however rejected the recommendations in its Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Outcome Report issued on June 16.
The government’s rejection of the recommendations to end prosecutions for “moral crimes” undercuts its acceptance of recommendations that “women’s rights and gender equality remained a top priority,” Human Rights Watch said.
The action also runs counter to directives from Afghanistan’s attorney general and Justice Ministry to decriminalize “running away” and “attempted zina,” or sex outside marriage, said Phelim Kine, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch.
The Universal Periodic Review involves a review of the human rights records of all UN member countries under the auspices of the Human Rights Council.
The review obligates countries to list the actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations and to fulfill their human rights obligations.
The outcome report issued on June 16 marked the conclusion of Afghanistan’s second review process.
Human Rights Watch, in its submission to Afghanistan’s UPR in December 2013, had warned of the deterioration in women’s rights as well as those for the LGBT community in Afghanistan.
The Afghan government rejected recommendations for a moratorium on capital punishment.
Same-sex relations and cross-dressing are considered serious crimes in Afghanistan with possible punishment including the death penalty.
Rights activists maintain that the government has denied the rights of its LGBT population by rejecting a recommendation to ensure non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and repeal the provisions of the penal code that criminalize sexual relations between consenting adults of the same sex.
“The government’s refusal to re-impose a moratorium on the death penalty and its willingness to deny the rights of Afghan woman and its LGBT population only guarantees future rights abuse victims,” Kine said.