Archive for the ‘IDAHO’ Category


Gay Russia and Gay Belarus to host largest Ever Gay Human Rights Conference in Belarus.

The event will take place on September 26 in Minsk.

MINSK, September 25, 2009 – Almost 100 participants are expected to take part in a gay human rights conference in the Belarus capital tomorrow (September 26).

Over 30 NGOs and LGBT groups have registered to speak at the one-day event. And this has caused a problem for the organisers in finding a room large enough.

“It is challenging, but not impossible, to organize a human rights conference in Belarus,” one of the organisers commented. “But, when it turns to be a LGBT rights conference, then, no one is ready to rent you a place anymore.”

For months, the organisers attempted to book different venues. But their requests were always turned down. Finally, they managed to find a venue, but are not yet disclosing where – even to the delegates.

Sergey Androsenko, a conference co-organiser and leader of the local advocacy group GayBelarus, said that many do not really know what are the demands and the challenges face by the LGBT community.

“We cannot let them think any longer that gays are boys dressed like girls just because they saw one singer in woman’s clothes on TV. We have to be visible, so that people hear us and see us as we are really.”

Thirty years ago, Harvey Milk expressed the same view:“We are coming out to fight the lies”.

Tomorrow’s event has been made possible as a joint project, funded and supported by the LGBT Human Rights Project GayRussia.Ru.

It will be held under the patronage of the IDAHO Committee – the Committee of the International Day Against Homophobia.

This is not the first event held by the IDAHO in Eastern Europe. In May 2006, the IDAHO Committee supported the First Moscow Pride Festival, an event that marked a breakthrough after 12 years of silence of the LGBT community in Russia.

Louis-Georges Tin, the President of the IDAHO Committee sees in the conference as “a step that will help local activists to raise awareness for their struggle”.

“It is our duty to help and support activists especially when they ask for our help. It is a unique chance for LGBT activists to discuss and express their demands,” said Mr Tin.

The conference will show reports from different activists and the plan is to strengthen discussion between the LGBT movements and other Human Rights NGOs. This is why the subject of the conference is LGBT Movement and NGOs: Prospect for Cooperation to Overcome Homophobia in Belarus.

The conference is also supported by Hamburg Pride and the Swedish Embassy.

Attending will be mainly Belarus people, but activists from Russia, Germany, France, Switzerland and Sweden are travelling to Minsk to show their support – and share their experiences.

“We are here to facilitate the dialogue between human rights groups and the LGBT movement,” said Alekseev of GayRussia and chief organiser of the Moscow Pride. “We are happy to bring our support and knowledge in organizing such large scale event.

“In less than a year during which we were actively working with our Belarusian colleagues, we have helped them to get more visibility at the international level,” Mr Alekseev added.

Russian and Belarusian LGBT movements ‘twined’ last November and associated their efforts in their joint struggle. The conference is one more step after the first Slavic Pride that they organised last May in Moscow – and the next one that is planned in Minsk in 2010.

The Embassies of three European Union countries – Sweden, Hungary and France – as well as the European Commission’s delegation in Minsk have said they will participate.

The presence of the EU diplomacy is seen as key by the organisers. “Firstly, we want them to monitor any attempt to disrupt the event, and secondly, we want to ensure that LGBT rights will not be forgotten in the human rights dialogue that the EU holds with Belarus,” said Mr Androsenko.

“The LGBT movement in Belarus is just being built. We want to show that we exist and we want to have our place in the human rights discussions in the country.

“For too long, we have been left aside. This is now going to be past,” he added.


See Also: ILGA Europe

Hong Kong IDAHO

Forwarded by Peter Tatchell on behalf of IDAHO

Official IDAHO Report – 2009

17 May 2009 – International Day against HOMOPHOBIA & TRANSPHOBIA


The fifth International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, an initiative launched on May 17th 2005 by activist Louis-Georges Tin, saw an amazing outburst of activities around the world. The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) Committee reports on its global site

“Actions were reported in more then 50 countries”, said Joel Bedos, coordinator of the IDAHO Committee, the NGO promoting the Day worldwide. “This shows just how strong the global movement is.”

ILGA, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, a world-wide network of national and local groups with more than 700 member organisations from every continent and representing 110 countries, has been involved in the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia with the IDAHO Committee since it was launched in 2005.

“We chose this Day,” say Gloria Careaga and Renato Sabbadini, ILGA’s Co-Secretaries General, “to launch the third edition of the World Report on State Sponsored Homophobia. With this report ILGA wants to name and shame the States which at the end of the first decade of the 21st century still treat their LGBTI citizens like lesser persons, unworthy of consideration.

“The actions undertaken by activists and the majority of our members all around the world on the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia have been an important occasion to remind civil societies and Governments of the situation of lesbians and gays in 80 countries in the world, where homosexuality is considered a crime and of the fact that in 5 of them, i.e. Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Mauritania and Yemen, homosexuals risk the death penalty. ILGA is now working on a State sponsored transphobia report, which we hope to publish by November this year.”

Nicolai Alexeyev, organiser of Slavic Pride in Moscow, speaking after his release from a Russian jail said, “We launched the first Moscow pride and the first IDAHO international conference in 2006 with Louis-Georges Tin, who was with us, on the streets confronting homophobic attacks.

“Since then, we have always been together, working for equal rights in the world. IDAHO breaks down isolation, makes people feel stronger, and sends a powerful signal to all homophobes and transphobes around the world that they are facing not just a handful of activists but millions of people across the globe.”

This ambition to get activists in different countries together is Joel Bedos’ main driving force.

“This year we have got a really large alliance of major regional and international NGOs, including ILGA’s Trans secretariat of course, together to launch a large international campaign against Transphobia. The appeal has been signed by 300 organizations in more than 75 countries, 3 Nobel Prize winners and many international institutions and celebrities and we are now launching it on our websites for citizens all over the world to join in with.”

Most amazingly, this campaign already has led France to announce an historic decision to become the first country in the world to stop classifying Trans people as ‘mentally disordered’ as the World Health Organisation’s guidelines still demand. Also, on May 15th, the Dutch parliament organised a conference on LGBTI rights, celebrating IDAHO, and the Dutch minister of foreign affairs, Maxime Verhagen announced that the Government will change the law that still requires transgender people to undergo irreversible surgery before granting them a new identification document. He acknowledged that the current law violates principle 18 of the Yogyakarta principle: the right to be protected from medical abuses.

The report, presented on Saturday 16 May at the Axel hotel in Barcelona with the help of Coordinadora Gai Lesbiana and former ILGA co-Secretary General Jordi Petit, was prepared by Daniel Ottosson. The report and a map showing the results of the study at a glance can be accessed on

“Such an international campaign is one of the added values of the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia, and we are glad that the IDAHO Committee has provided the initial impulse. It has galvanised us into action and helped us to network with other Trans organisations in other countries. We are definitely stronger together” says Liesl Theron from Gender DynamiX, a South African Human Rights organization promoting freedom of expression of gender identity in Africa.

The IDAHO committee hopes that the Campaign against Transphobia will be just as successful as the one that it launched back in 2006 when an international petition calling “for a universal decriminalisation of homosexuality” drew incredible support from several Nobel prize winners, many high profile politicians, actors, intellectuals, etc, and contributed to the French government taking the initiative that resulted in last year UN Statement on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity -a historical achievement indeed.

On this year’s International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia, the French, Dutch and Norwegian governments organised a World Congress to follow up on this Statement, with a very active participation of the IDAHO Committee along other civil society actors. This congress got many activists from all over the world to meet and strategise the future.

Getting people around the globe together is indeed a shared passion. Kenneth Tan, founder of the first social gay and lesbian network, is a happy man: “The community based video that we did this year in partnership with the IDAHO Committee has already been watched by 200,000 people. The idea was to get individuals from a lot of different countries to come out and say they were proud. The result is exactly what the Day means: a celebration of both diversity, because we are all unique, and unity, because there is something that links us all together.”

Diversity is certainly the motto: In mainland China, a bike rally celebrated the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, while in Hong Kong, the IDAHO Coalition protested against homophobia in front of the Government Headquarters. Says Connie Chan, who has been coordinating actions in Hong Kong for many years: “The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia Committee and participating organisations around the world have given us inspiration and momentum for action.”

Derek Lennard, IDAHO-UK Coordinator said “In the UK we now have over 100 events and initiatives to mark IDAHO -in 2005 we had five. It is very exciting to see this network get bigger and bigger and to see the very broad support it now receives in the UK”.

While marchers took it to the streets in all major Turkish cities, UK police stations flew the rainbow flag. While in Cameroon, brave activists faced the hostile crowd on a radio programme, a Church service to mark IDAHO was held in Belfast’s oldest church. Iran’s gay students wrote an open letter to the Students’ Union, and in Singapore, the Pink Dot festival was the first-ever event to speak openly about gay and lesbian rights.

The Council of the EU, in a historic statement published on May 17th, declared “Discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity is incompatible with the basic principles on which the UE is founded”. In a surprisingly progressive move, this Statement was supported by countries outside the EU such as Turkey and Ukraine.

“Everywhere we see things moving. Even in Russia where the IDAHO Committee co-organised the first Pride in 2006, things will change. This is why we created this Day in 2005 and we are so happy to see all these actions take place around the globe. We hope that the sum of all these individual energies will increasingly be visible to the world. Because we are so many and so full of hope and energy, that we can really change the world,” says Louis-Georges Tin.

Press contact

Louis-Georges Tin

IDAHO Committee

Protests on the 2009 International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia – 17 May


CHINA & HONG KONG · “Love is not a crime, hate is not a family value” chanted IDAHO coalition marchers as they headed to the Governments Headquarters demanding equal rights for LGBT people.

They called for legislation outlawing discrimination based on sexual orientation and for same-sex couples to be included in the law on domestic violence. Spokesperson Connie Chan reports: “Protesters laid down in a symbolic die-in action to signal their disappointment at the treatment they get from the Hong Kong authorities.”

In the meantime in Beijing, organisations Common Language and Aibai Culture and Education Center organised “Rainbow in Motion”, the Beijing Multi-campus Bike Ride to celebrate gay pride, raise awareness of LGBT rights and introduce IDAHO to the LGBT community and general public of mainland China.

FRANCE · In France, hundreds of events where organised all over the country, where IDAHO enjoys a growing visibility. In Paris, Trans People from all over the world joined French Trans activists and LGBT organisations to “Shout Out against Transphobia”. On that day, the Health minister announced that France would be the first country to officially stop applying WHO classification of Trans People as “mentally disordered”. 27 cities organised debates, film screenings, parties, exhibitions and other political and cultural events, including a National Conference on Transgender and Transexual issues at the French Parliament.

TURKEY · Hundreds of people marched in Ankara and other major cities in the country for LGBT rights. Homophobia and Transphobia have risen dramatically over the last year with dozens of people brutally murdered and police harassment is growing.

ILGA · The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association published on IDAHO the third edition of its report on State Sponsored Homophobia.

The report surveys legislations criminalising consensual sexual acts between persons of the same sex in private over the age of consent in all countries in the World. With this report ILGA wants to name and shame the States which at the end of the first decade of the 21st century still treat their LGBTI citizens like lesser persons, unworthy of consideration.

UK · Amongst many initiatives across the country, dozens of police stations raised a gay rights banner to mark a day of action against homophobia. The organisations raising the rainbow flag high were taking part in The Lesbian and Gay Foundation’s “Flying the Flag” campaign. In London, an IDAHO party launched Day in Hand community project. This campaign’s aim is to inspire and support same-sex couples who want to hold their partner’s hand in public.

EUROPEAN UNION · To mark IDAHO, the European Union issued a strong statement calling for renewed mobilisation against homophobia and transphobia.

The Statement, warning that “discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation and gender identity is incompatible with the basic principles on which the UE is founded”, was also supported by other States, including Turkey and Ukraine, two countries who did not sign up to the UN Statement last December supported by now 67 countries and calling States to fights discrimination on these grounds.

SINGAPORE · IDAHO 2009 went down in History as the Pink Dot festival united a 2500-strong crowd celebrating the freedom to love. The organisers of the event,, say the event was held to commemorate love in all forms and between people of every orientation. The city-state still has a ban on homosexual sex that has been in force since its colonial days under the British. According to Jack Soh of, “It was not a protest or a political rally. The event was for Singaporeans in general – to affirm our respect for diversity and the freedom to love, regardless of sexual orientation.”

TRANSPHOBIA · 300 organisations from 75 countries, 3 Nobel Prize winners and intellectuals, artists, politicians from many countries ,supported the International Appeal against Transphobia and for the Respect of Gender Identity launched by a group of large regional and international Human Rights and LGBT Rights organisations. The Appeal was launched on the eve of IDAHO and is now opened to signatures by the public.


INTERNATIONAL · To coincide with IDAHO, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosted the World Congress on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. This congress originated from a joint decision by the French, Dutch and Norwegian governments. Its aim was to reflect on future strategies to take the LGBT agenda forward within the UN. Ministers from 15 countries, including 3 African countries, and more than 80 representatives from NGOs from all World regions debated during the day-long congress to elaborate recommendations for all stakeholders.

RUSSIA · Once again Gayrussia tried to organise a Pride march in Moscow on IDAHO. This year, the date coincided with the Eurovision song contest in the Russian capital, which drew increased media attention on the event. In spite of much public attention and support, Moscow authorities cracked down on demonstrators and arrested many members of the group. Gayrussia founder Nicolai Alexeyev promised to hold on to the slogan “Gay Equality; No Compromise” and plans actions for IDAHO 2010.

More information on


In August 2004, Louis-Georges Tin, a French university lecturer, campaigner for Black and LGBT Rights, and chief editor of the Dictionary of Homophobia launched an appeal for a universal recognition of the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO). He proposed that this day be fixed on May 17th, to commemorate the World Health Organisation decision to remove homosexuality from the list of mental disorders.

By May 17th 2005, as a result of a year long campaigning effort, 24000 people worldwide and reputed international organisations like ILGA, IGLHRC, the World Congress of LGBT Jews, the Coalition of African lesbians, to name but a few, had signed the IDAHO appeal. In May 2005 already, IDAHO saw some action take place in more than 40 countries in the world. The first LGBT events ever were organised in Congo, China, Bulgaria. Josepp Borrell, President of the European Parliament made a statement supporting the IDAHO and invited Tin to the conference the EU Parliament organised for IDAHO 2006.

By that time a new campaign had been launched by the IDAHO Committee calling “for a universal decriminalisation of homosexuality” and on May 17th 2006 it had attracted support from several Nobel Prize winners (Desmond Tutu, Amartya Sen, Elfriede Jelinek, Dario Fo, José Saramago), artists (Merryl Streep, Cindy Lauper, Elton John, David Bowie), intellectuals (Noam Chomsky, Judith Butler, Bernard-Henri Lévy), NGOs (ILGA, FIDH), politicians, etc…

In July 2006, the Montreal Conference on LGBT Human Rights, organised in the wake of the Outgames, included in its final declaration a strong recommendation to all Governments to recognise May 17th as the International Day against Homophobia.

For IDAHO 2007, the IDAHO committee and Gayrussia co-organised the first GayPride in Moscow, preceded by an International IDAHO conference that brought together many activist, organisations and politicians from around Europe and North America.

At that time, IDAHO had been officially recognised by the EU Parliament, Belgium, the UK and Mexico and organisations in more than 50 countries in the world celebrated IDAHO. Costa Rica, the Netherlands and Luxemburg soon joined the list of countries officially recognising the Day.

On IDAHO 2008, as a result of the actions coordinated by the IDAHO committee, the French Government also recognised IDAHO. Rama Yade, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Human Rights, announced France’s intention to launch a UN initiative towards the universal decriminalisation of homosexuality.

During the second semester, Civil Society organisations, including the IDAHO committee, ILGA, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, ARC international, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission and many other groups from the global South and East worked towards this initiative that eventually resulted in the December 2008 UN Statement read at the General Assembly by Argentina and supported by now 67 countries. This UN Statement was one of the elements in a long strategy of LGBT advocacy at the UN, a strategy that was discussed on IDAHO 2009 at the World Congress against Homophobia and Transphobia, that the IDAHO committee, as part of a central working group, helped shaping.



Gays Without Borders


For Immediate Release: May 10, 2009

For Information: Roger Fraser, Gay Liberation Network, 847.946.8035,

Bob Schwartz, Gay Liberation Network, 773.878.3697,

Protest Focuses on Obama’s Failure to Denounce Rampant Anti-Gay Violence in Iraq

May 17th is commemorated around the world as International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO), a day on which LGBT people and our allies focus attention on the problems of anti-gay hate, discrimination and violence.

This year in Chicago, the Gay Liberation Network (GLN) is organizing the city’s IDAHO event as a protest against the Obama administration’s continuing silence about rampant anti-gay violence in U.S.-occupied Iraq. The protest will take place at 2 PM, Sunday, May 17th outside of the Obamas’ Chicago residence at the corner of Hyde Park Boulevard (5100 S.) and Greenwood (1100 E.).

Over the past month, several news outlets have reported an escalating, officially sanctioned campaign to torture and execute gays in Iraq, promoted both by Shi’ite clerics and by the Shi’ite-dominated government which is closely allied with the United States.

As the New York Times reported April 7, “In the past two months, the bodies of as many as 25 boys and men suspected of being gay have turned up in the huge [Baghdad] Shiite enclave of Sadr City, the police and friends of the dead say. Most have been shot, some multiple times. Several have been found with the word ‘pervert’ in Arabic on notes attached to their bodies, the police said.” And as the Huffington Post reported May 3rd, “According to Iraqis and human rights workers interviewed for this post, some sort of understanding was reached between the Iraqi government and the Mahdi Army to ‘cleanse’ Iraq of homosexuals.”

Tortures committed reportedly include gluing the anuses of gay men shut, and then force-feeding them diarrhea-inducing medications which cause agonizing pain followed by death.

Back in 2005, the country’s leading Shi’ite cleric said that gays and lesbians should be “punished, in fact, killed” and that “the people should be killed in the worst, most severe way of killing.” After some protests this language was removed from the cleric’s website, and the anti-gay campaign appeared to subside.

However, over the past month, the campaign in Iraq to murder gays has ramped up again as “Sadr City’s Muslim clerics have reportedly urged the faithful to destroy homosexuality Iraqi society and police have undertaken an effort to arrest and jail gay men,” said United Press International.

Iraqi LGBT, the main support group for gays in Iraq, as well as for those trying to flee, reports that some of the few hundred prisoners awaiting execution by the Iraqi government are facing execution because of the “crime” of homosexuality. Despite these human rights violations by a close U.S. ally, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made no public protest about this situation during a visit to Baghdad two weeks ago.

“Over the past two weeks there have been protests in New York and San Francisco which got quite a bit of press about this situation, despite the small size of the protests,” said GLN’s Bob Schwartz. “We in Chicago are uniquely positioned to add even more pressure. When we hold our IDAHO event outside Obama’s residence in Hyde Park, we can help force his administration to take a stand it should have taken weeks ago and finally speak out about these human rights violations by a close U.S. ally.”

Gay Liberation Network

See also:

Organisers says they will keep intensifying pressure over the Council of Europe


Photo: Nicolas Alexeyev

MOSCOW, March 28, 2009 ( – The Registrar of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has told organisers of Moscow Gay Pride the court’s President of the Chamber has decided not to give priority to their cases, some of which have been waiting for more than two years.

The Russian activists asked the Court last month to give a priority treatment to their application against Russia in the light of the 2006, 2007 and 2008 Moscow Pride bans.

To date, the Russian activists have appealed the ban of 167 banned gay marches at the European Court.

“If no action is taken, the Moscow Pride bans will take five to six years to be overturned by the European Court,” said chief Pride organisers Nikolai Alekseev.

“Whether though the Court or via the Committee of Ministers, a solution, has to be found in Strasbourg,” he added.

“We are in contact with several diplomacies.”

In a similar case around the ban of the Warsaw Pride in Poland, the European Court gave a decision within 18 months of receiving the application.

Over the last months, the organisers have intensified pressure on the Council of Europe, asking the organisation to make Russia respect freedom of assembly for the LGBT community.

Last month in Strasbourg, activists from Russia and Belarus were joined by 50 local activists , they held a protest in Strasbourg demanding that the European Court and the Council of Europe speed up the matter.

“Council of Europe officials write wonderful letters to Russian authorities about the necessity to respect the rights of LGBT people,” said Moscow Pride co-organiser Nikolai Baev.

“But year after year we see the same violence, the same aggressions and the same breach of human rights.”

Earlier this month, 22 members of the European Parliament asked the Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers to help find a solution in resolving this issue over this year’s Gay Pride in Moscow, scheduled to take place on May 16.

Also last month, the US State Department in Washington DC criticised Russia for breeches of human rights of gay men and women in its annual Human Rights Report.

May 16 is during the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) weekend – and is on the day of the ‘uber-gay’ Eurovision Song Contest, which is being staged in the Russian capital and beamed live across Europe, and beyond.

Moscow Pride is this year a joint project of Russian and Belarusian gay groups and is officially “Slavic Pride”.

Full Post on Gay Russia



By Nicolas Alexeyev

Dear friends,

While all of you have heard about the International Day Against Homophobia which take place every May 17th since 2005, not all of you might be aware that the recent statement signed by 66 countries at the United Nations was an initial campaign of IDAHO.

In 2005, the IDAHO Committee launched the petition for the Universal Decriminalization of Homosexuality. This petition was signed by Nobel Prizes, Intellectuals, NGOs, Artists… Desmond Tutu, Elton John signed it for example. But more important, more than 20,000 individuals also signed it.

As of today, the European Parliament, France, Belgium, Costa Rica, Mexico, United Kingdom have all recognized May 17th in their calendar as the offical day against homophobia. And this week, a Luxembourg MP has put a motion to have his country joining the list. We are working with other countries to increase this list.

The IDAHO is already celebrated in more than 50 countries, each of them with each own specificity. Only, one common goal : Organizing actions against homophobia around May 17th.

If some of you want to join this initiative and become coordinator in their country, please send me an email. The IDAHO Committee is always happy to welcome new forces !




Gay Russia Human Right Activities:

Gay Russia :

Community Action Against Homophobia :

Nicolas Alexeyev :

Contact IDAHO



Tin Joins Activists at UN to Press for Gay Rights in Russia, Belarus.

Letter is sent to the UN General Secretary after public protest.

Louis-Georges Tin, the president of the International Day Against Homophobia committee, joined gay activists from Russia and Belarus on Monday at the United Nations to press for gay human rights in the two countries.

“I salute the determination of the LGBT activists from Russia and Belarus,” Mr. Tin told UK Gay News last evening.

“But,” he pointed out, “I regret that the UN Human Rights Commission has not given any firm commitment to solve the matter of Freedom of Assembly in their respective countries.”

On Sunday, the activists and Mr. Tin, who two years ago originated the concept of a United Nations declaration which came to fruition last December in New York, took part in a symbolic protest in front of the United Nations in Geneva.

“We came here to show that such event cannot be organized in our country,” said Nikolai Baev.

With banners reading “Russia and Belarus banned all gay manifestation. UN must act” and “Everyone has the right to freedom of assembly”, the activists handed-in a letter to the Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon.

“The universal declaration for Human Rights says that anyone has the right to freedom of assembly and freedom of association. Since 2006 no action has been taken by the UN to guaranty Freedom of Assembly for LGBT in Russia and Belarus,” the letter reads.

Yesterday, the Russian-Belarusian delegation of gay activists, again accompanied by Mr. Tin, with the UN Human Rights High Commissioner office.


“One of the conclusions we made after our meeting with this institution is that there is a gap between what we, as activists, face in our countries and what they usually know,” said Mr. Baev.

“We will keep putting pressure on all these human rights institutions,” Nikolai Alekseev added.

The meeting concluded five days of visits to the European institutions and the UN.


66 countries back UN statement for LGBT human rights

London and New York – 18 December 2008

Sixty-six countries signed a joint statement in support of LGBT human rights, which was tabled at the United Nations General Assembly today (18 December 2008). The full list follows below.

The most surprising non-signers were the United States and South Africa.

The UN statement, which includes a call for the decriminalisation of homosexuality worldwide, was read by Argentina.

“This was history in the making. Totally ground-breaking. It is the first time that the UN General Assembly has been presented with a statement in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) human rights. Securing this statement at the UN is the result of an inspiring collective global effort by many LGBT and human rights organisations. Our collaboration, unity and solidarity have won us this success,” said Peter Tatchell of the British LGBT human rights movement, OutRage!, which lobbied for countries to support the statement.

“To decriminalise homosexuality worldwide is a battle for human rights,” added Louis-Georges Tin, the President and founder of the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO), which in 2006 initiated the global campaign to end the criminalisation of same-sex relationships and secured the support of dozens of international public figures, ranging from Nobel Prize winners to writers, clergy, actors, musicans and academics.

“IDAHO has worked hard for two years to promote this issue. For us, this is a great achievement. I want to thank the many other people and organisations who have worked with us since the beginning, and more recently. I also want to remind everyone that ending the criminalisation of same-sex love will be a long, hard battle. To love is not a crime”.

“IDAHO expresses its particular appreciation to the French Secretary of State for human rights, Ms Rama Yade, for her role in organising this statement and bringing it to the UN,” said Mr Tin.

Mr Tatchell added:

“The original initiative for the universal decriminalisation of homosexuality campaign came from the inspiring French black activist and gay rights campaigner, Louis-Georges Tin, coordinator of the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO). He lobbied the French government, which agreed to take the lead in organising the presentation of the statement at the UN.

“As well as IDAHO, I pay tribute to the contribution and lobbying of Amnesty International; ARC International; Center for Women’s Global Leadership; COC Netherlands; Global Rights; Human Rights Watch; International Committee for IDAHO (the International Day Against Homophobia); International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC); International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Association (ILGA); International Service for Human Rights; Pan Africa ILGA; and Public Services International.

“The UN statement goes much further than seeking the decriminalisation of same-sex acts. It condemns all human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity, urges countries to protect the human rights of LGBT people and to bring to justice those who violate these rights, and calls for human rights defenders who oppose homophobic and transphobic victimisation to be allowed to carry out their advocacy and humanitarian work unimpeded.

“Although not binding on the member states, this UN statement of principle has immense symbolic value, given the six decades in which homophobic and transphobic persecution has been ignored by the UN General Assembly.

“LGBT human rights have, however, been previously raised in other UN forums and commissions. In the 1994 decision Toonen v Australia, the UN Human Rights Committee ruled that sexual orientation is a status protected against discrimination by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

“Even today, not a single international human rights convention explicitly acknowledges the human rights of LGBT people. The right to physically love the person of one’s choice is nowhere directly enshrined in any global humanitarian law. No convention specifically recognises sexual rights as human rights. None offer explicit protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Some international human rights instruments have, of course, been interpreted to include sexual orientation, but this is not the same as the explicit prohibitions that exist concerning discrimination based on race, nationality, gender and so on.

“Currently, 86 countries (nearly half the nations on Earth) still have a total ban on male homosexuality and a smaller number also ban sex between women. The penalties in these countries range from a few years jail to life imprisonment. In at least seven countries or regions of countries (all under Islamist jurisdiction), the sentence is death, including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Yemen, Sudan, Mauritania and parts of Nigeria and Pakistan,” said Mr Tatchell.

See the global survey of homophobia, published by the International Gay and Lesbian Association:

Press contact:

Louis-Georges Tin – Paris – 00 33 6 19 45 45 52

Peter Tatchell – London – 00 44 207 403 1790

Background briefing:

On May 17 2006, the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO), the IDAHO Committee launched a campaign « for the universal decriminalisation of homosexuality », and published a list of the first signatories, which include several Nobel Prize winners: (Desmond Tutu, Elfriede Jelinek, José Saramago, Dario Fo, Amartya Sen), entertainers (Meryl Streep, Victoria Abril, Cyndi Lauper, Elton John, David Bowie), intellectuals (Judith Butler, Noam Chomsky, Bernard-Henri Lévy), and humanitarian organisations like ILGA, Aids International and the FIDH.

On IDAHO 2008 (17 May this year) the French government announced that it would bring a LGBT human rights statement to the General Assembly of the United Nations. The text was read today in New York, and was supported by 66 countries in the world, and it clearly inscribes sexual orientation and gender identity as human rights.

The IDAHO Committee is the NGO coordinating the International Day Against Homophobia. This day is celebrated in more than 50 countries in the world, and is officially recognised by the European Union, Belgium, United Kingdom, France, Mexico, Costa-Rica, etc. These actions support international campaigns, like the call launched in 2006 “for a universal decriminalisation of homosexuality”

The 66 countries that signed the joint UN statement for LGBT human rights are:

Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guinea-Bissau, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Montenegro, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, United Kingdom, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

Peter Tatchell is the Green Party parliamentary candidate for Oxford East and

yade2Dépénalisation de l’homosexualité: Rama Yade à l’Onu le 18 décembre

La secrétaire d’État aux droits de l’homme française, Rama Yade, se rendra au siège de l’ONU la semaine prochaine pour «promouvoir» un projet de déclaration sur la dépénalisation de l’homosexualité, annoncé dans Têtu n° 135, juillet-août 2008, et vivement combattu par le Vatican.

«Afin de promouvoir cette déclaration, Rama Yade se rendra à New York le 18 décembre et coprésidera avec Maxime Verhagen, ministre des Affaires étrangères des Pays-Bas, un événement en marge de l’assemblée générale, auquel s’associeront de nombreux autres pays», a déclaré jeudi le porte-parole adjoint du ministère des Affaires étrangères, Frédéric Desagneaux.

M. Desagneaux a rappelé l’engagement de Rama Yade en faveur d’un texte «appelant à la dépénalisation universelle de l’homosexualité qui serait portée aux Nations Unies lors de la présidence française du Conseil de l’Union européenne», qui s’achève à la fin de l’année.

Cette initiative, qui a déjà reçu le soutien d’une soixantaine de pays, «consiste en une déclaration qui sera prononcée dans le cadre de l’assemblée générale des Nations Unies», a-t-il ajouté. Le porte-parole a rappelé que l’homosexualité est passible de la peine de mort «dans au moins six pays dans le monde».

Le Saint-Siège a manifesté à plusieurs reprises son hostilité à ce projet, dont le texte n’a pas encore été rendu public, assurant qu’il se heurtait aux réserves ou à l’hostilité de nombreux pays. Pour le Vatican, cette déclaration répond à l’objectif légitime de bannir la répression de l’homosexualité. Mais en condamnant les «discriminations» et les «préjugés» concernant les homosexuels, il risque à ses yeux de favoriser le mariage gay, l’adoption par des couples du même sexe ou encore la procréation assistée pour les homosexuels.

par Quotidien/AFP
Info du 11 décembre 2008

tininterviewnbLouis-Georges Tin, the founder of the International Day Against Homophobia and president of IDAHO French Committee, has said that he fully supports the staging of Slavic Gay Pride in Moscow next year on the day of Eurovision song contest final in mid May – and that he plans to part in it.

His comments came in a wider ranging video interview for the GayRussia website.

In the interview, recorded in Paris last Friday, November 28, Mr. Tin said: “I am very happy to know that there will be a great event in Moscow around the Eurovision.

“And to make a connection seams to me as a very good idea.

“So, of course I would love to be there – and I think I have to be there. I think we have to take any opportunity to raise awareness.

“So if it is Eurovision, if it is any festival in the world, we have to be there as well, to assert LGBT rights. I think it was quite clever to identify this event. It happens to be in May, so we can make a connection and be there as well,” he says.

Louis-Georges Tin stressed that the date May 16 2009 was ideal because “IDAHO day is just after, so we can make a connection of both events”.

Activists are planning to conduct second conference of IDAHO in Russia’s capital.

Answering a question from Nikolai Alekseev about the fact that some people accuse the activists of using Eurovision to promote their own interests, Mr. Tin said that human rights needed to be tackled on any platform.

“So when people are dying, I think it is a bit shocking to say ‘Oh, please, die in another place’ So I think it is very important to take any opportunity to raise awareness.

“And I think the persons who say so, don’t really understand themselves when they make the accusations”.

According to Louis-Georges Tin, “people who want to promote culture should be happy to see that culture and human rights can go together. I support culture very much but I wouldn’t like to be in a cultural event that rejects human rights”.

In May 2006, Moscow hosted first world conference of the International Day Against Homophobia which was part of first Moscow Pride events. Mr. Tin took part both in the conference and also in the public actions next to Moscow City Hall on May 27.

Project GayRussia.Ru is the coordinator of the International Day Against Homophobia in Russia.

The idea of Slavic Gay Pride movement was adopted during the unification meeting of Russian and Belarusian gay activists which took place in Minsk last month.

Full video of the interview with Louis-Georges Tin will be available by the end of the month.


william_adolphe_bouguereauBy Staff Writer, • December 2, 2008

The Vatican’s observer at the United Nations has criticised a European Union initiative on homosexuality.

At the UN General Assembly later this month a declaration against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity will be presented.

All 27 countries of the European Union have signed the declaration, which will be presented by France.

Monsignor Celestino Migliore, the Holy See’s permanent observer at the UN, claims the declaration could be used to force countries to recognise same-sex marriage.

“If adopted, they would create new and implacable discriminations,” he said.

“For example, states which do not recognise same-sex unions as ‘matrimony’ will be pilloried and made an object of pressure.”

More than 80 countries outlaw same-sex relations in all circumstances.

The maximum punishments range from a few years jail to life imprisonment.

In nine countries, or regions of countries, the mandatory punishment for homosexuality is death by execution.

There is no mention of same-sex marriage in the UN declaration. Only a handful of countries recognise gay and lesbian marriages, among them Canada, Belgium and South Africa.

In September the French minister of human rights and foreign affairs confirmed that she will appeal at the United Nations for the universal decriminalisation of homosexuality.

Rama Yade also said that the EU wanted to take the lead in stopping violence against women worldwide.

Until the end of 2008 France will speak for all EU member states at the UN General Assembly, as they hold the rotating Presidency of the European Union.

The French initiative on decrminalisation will take the form of a solemn declaration from UN states, rather than a vote in the UN on the matter.

France will instead submit a draft declaration at the UN General Assembly between December 15th and 20th. The British government already advocates universal decriminalisation.

It is thought that this is the first time a declaration of this kind has reached the General Assembly.

After it is presented it is hoped that the momentum for decriminalisation will build and that there will be enough support for a resolution to be passed in the UN.

The Vatican today defended their UN observer.

“It’s not for nothing that fewer than 50 member states of the United Nations have adhered to the proposal in question while more than 150 have not adhered. The Holy See is not alone,” a spokesman said.

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Painting: William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Dante And Virgil In Hell (1850)