Activists’ Two Hours in Jail Leads to French Government Push on Gay Rights at UN
PARIS, May 17, 2008 – Louis-Georges Tin was celebrating this evening.
The founder and president of International Day Against Homophobia was arrested and detained in police custody for two hours yesterday when demonstrating outside the Presidential Palace in Paris against worldwide homophobia.
The treatment of Mr. Tin and colleagues outraged the progressive political parties and non-government organisations that immediately criticised the government.
The result was that today gay and lesbian groups had a meeting with Human Rights Minister, Rama Yade.
According to Agence France Presse, Ms. Yade told the delegation that Paris would push for “a European initiative calling for the universal decriminalisation of homosexuality”.
In addition, the French government has agreed to officially recognise of International Day Against Homophobia.
The news agency said the minister had promised to submit the initiative to the United Nations after it takes over the rotating six-month EU presidency in July – a period during which France will speak for all EU member states at the UN General Assembly.
“My aim is to get the United Nations to pass a declaration that would decriminalise homosexuality throughout the world,” Mr. Tin said in London last month.
And that aim appears to be starting to come to fruition.
“It is a remarkable decision by the French Government,” Mr. Tin said in a statement this evening.
“The IDAHO committee wants to thank the French government for these two historical decisions. The Day was already officially recognised by the European Parliament, Belgium, United Kingdom, Mexico, Costa-Rica, and several cities or provinces around the world.
“Now, France joins the group, and we hope more and more countries will give LGBT militants a symbolical tool to favour practical action.”
Turning to France’s commitment to raise the matter of decriminalising homosexuality, he continued:
“A little bit more of hope has arisen today for millions of lesbians and gays in the world, the voice of the voiceless.”
“This will be within the General Assembly, with all the countries that want to support this initiative.
“No vote is scheduled for the moment, but this might be a first step in order to put the issue of decriminalisation on the agenda of the General Assembly.
“As IDAHO belongs to everybody and as IDAHO exists only through the numerous organisations that contribute to it, the IDAHO Committee wants to thank all the NGOs which have brought support, energy to this international campaign, and would be pleased to welcome all those who would like to give a hand on this very important task that can only reinforce the Yogyakarta principles.
“Freedom is not something you have to wait for, freedom is something we have to fight for,” he concluded.