Saudi Arabia has rejected a United Nations' draft resolution on "gender identity" and "sexual orientation," stressing that the terminology contradicts the kingdom's history and values.
The resolution by the UN General Assembly called upon states "to take measures to eliminate laws, regulations and practices that discriminate, directly or indirectly, against citizens in their right to participate in public affairs, including based on race, colour, ethnicity, national or social origin, sex, gender, sexual orientation and gender identity, language, religion, political views or on the basis of disability."
According to the Saudi Gazette, Saudi Arabia's permanent representative to the UN Abdallah al-Mouallimi responded that God created males and females as part of divine nature, and that the country's culture and values see any other concept as "against nature."
He also stressed that such a resolution impacts the right of sovereign countries to legislate, and that it opposes the democratic practice of respecting others' values and cultures.
"Imposing others' values and concepts inconsistent with this divine nature is completely rejected by countries whose culture, religious identity, customs and traditions are against such values and concepts," al-Mouallimi said.
He reiterated that kingdom's stance that "every state has the right to enact laws and regulations in accordance with the moral values of their societies and accordance with their culture and religious identity."
The representative added, however, that "because the sponsors of the resolution ignored our firm stance on the highly sensitive terms and concepts contained in the text of the resolution, Saudi Arabia has reservations
Although Riyadh has launched a drive to further open up the country and its society over the past five years by implementing a series of laws allowing women to drive and to live and travel alone, many human rights activists and groups continue to criticise it for its ban on LGBT lifestyles and practices.