Taoiseach Tells Arab States To Look To Ireland As Example For LGBT+ Rights

At the EU and League of Arab Nations Summit, Leo Varadkar urged leaders from Saudi Arabia and Iraq to allow for the progression of rights for women and LGBT+ people.

Leo Varadkar at the League of Arab Nations

Speaking at an EU Arab League of Nations event in Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt, Leo Varadkar has urged some of the world’s most conservative leaders to look to Ireland as an example with regards to the progression of rights for women and the LGBT+ community.

Varadkar was addressing leaders from a number of countries in the League of Arab States including Saudi Arabia, Iraq and the United Arab Emirates. In these countries, LGBT+ people receive very little legal protection from the state and same-sex relations are punishable with imprisonment, beatings, torture and death.

Speaking about Ireland the Taoiseach said:

“We have become leaders in advancing equality for women and members of the LGBT community. We have legalised both same-sex marriage – the right to love – and abortion – the right to choose.”

Varadkar continued:

“I respect that every country has its own culture, traditions and religious beliefs. However, we believe these rights are universal.”

The Taoiseach made reference to the way in which Ireland has developed in the past century:

“Since then, we have worked to build our nation and to move beyond our history of colonialism, conflict, poverty, famine and forced migration. We have succeeded.”

Varadkar also made comments about the country’s relationship with the EU, and urged the League of Nations to foster the same sense of international community:

“I think that Europe is stronger and safer when it works in partnership with other regions, within a multilateral, rules-based system.

“As a relatively small country, Ireland’s positive experience of multilateralism has reinforced our conviction that the international community can achieve far greater things by working together.”

Taking to Twitter, the Taoiseach spoke about the points raised at the EU-Arab summit:

“This summit between the EU & Arab League is an important signal of our willingness to work together for the benefit of our citizens, our countries our regions & our planet.”

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