Libya’s post-Gaddafi government has warned the United Nations that gays and lesbians are a threat to the continuation of the human race, reports the Geneva-based UN Watch monitoring group.

The comment was made by Libya’s delegate, Ibrahim Dabbashi, at a planning meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Libya’s membership of the council was suspended in March last year and then restored in November following Gaddafi’s fall.

Opposing plans for the council to hold a panel discussion on discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation next month, Dabbashi said that LGBT issues “affect religion and the continuation and reproduction of the human race”.

He explained that if his country had not been suspended at the time it would have opposed the historic South African-led June 2011 resolution that saw the council condemning discrimination and violence against LGBT people.

“….today’s shocking homophobic outburst by the new Libyan government, together with the routine abuse of prisoners, underscores the serious questions we have about whether the new regime is genuinely committed to improving on the dark record of its predecessor, or to pandering to some of the hard-line Islamists amidst its ranks,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch.

In November, when the UN General Assembly reinstated Libya on the council, the country promised that no violations of human rights will take place on Libyan territory in the future.

Neuer commented that “Gays are now paying the price, with their right to be free from violent attacks now being undermined at the UN by a country that democratic countries fought to liberate, and by a government that our leaders helped install. It’s all very disconcerting”.

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