Archive for the ‘Universal Decriminalisation of Homosexuality’ Category

I, Sunil Babu Pant, MP from Nepal, strongly denounce new President of the United Nations’ ‘unacceptable’ views on homosexuality”.

I am extremely concern and saddened when I heard: Taking his post at the opening of the 64th General Assembly of the United Nations, on 15 September 2009, Libyan Ali Abdussalam Treki suggested that homosexuality was unacceptable.

The newly-elected President was asked during his press conference about the UN Resolution calling for the universal decriminalization of homosexuality. “That matter is very sensitive, very touchy. As a Muslim, I am not in favour of it…it is not accepted by the majority of the countries. My opinion is not in favour of this matter at all, I think it is not really acceptable by our religion, our tradition”, he said.

I call on the President to represent all countries and people of all walks not only Muslims. He is there to defend the principles of the United Nations and that includes the Universal Declaration Human Rights Act 1948 and all following amendments and covenants of rights, including LGBT Human Rights.

His religious views should remain private and he must now speak on behalf of those who do not have a voice. He should know that the implications of his words could legitimize violence and hatred towards LGBTI people in country like Libya.

Nepal, along with 66 countries, signed the Resolution in favour of the decriminalization of homosexuality and passed last December. Nepal is very much committed to realize full equality and justice for all regardless of sexual orientations and gender identities.

Sunil Babu Pant
MP, Nepal
Founder, Blue Diamond Society
Coordinator, Parliamentary Action Team on Environment, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction.

http://www.bds.org.np/

obama_gay_rights

US endorses UN gay rights text

By MATTHEW LEE
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration on Wednesday formally endorsed a U.N. declaration calling for the worldwide decriminalization of homosexuality, a measure that former President George W. Bush had refused to sign.

The move was the administration’s latest in reversing Bush-era decisions that have been heavily criticized by human rights and other groups. The United States was the only western nation not to sign onto the declaration when it came up at the U.N. General Assembly in December.

“The United States supports the U.N.’s statement on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity and is pleased to join the other 66 U.N. member states who have declared their support of the statement,” said State Department spokesman Robert Wood.

“The United States is an outspoken defender of human rights and critic of human rights abuses around the world,” Wood told reporters. “As such, we join with other supporters of this statement, and we will continue to remind countries of the importance of respecting the human rights of all people in all appropriate international fora.”

The Associated Press reported on Tuesday that the administration would endorse the declaration.

Gay rights and other groups had criticized the Bush administration when it refused to sign the declaration when it was presented at the United Nations on Dec. 19. U.S. officials said then that the U.S. opposed discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation but that parts of the declaration raised legal questions that needed further review.

According to negotiators, the Bush team had concerns that those sections could commit the federal government on matters that fall under state jurisdiction. In some states, landlords and private employers are allowed to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation; on the federal level, gays are not allowed to serve openly in the military.

But Wood said a “careful interagency review” by the Obama administration had concluded that “supporting this statement commits us to no legal obligations.”

When it was voted on in December, 66 of the U.N.’s 192 member countries signed the nonbinding declaration, which backers called an historic step to push the General Assembly to deal more forthrightly with anti-gay discrimination. It was endorsed by all 27 European Union members as well as Japan, Australia and Mexico.

But 70 U.N. members outlaw homosexuality – and in several, homosexual acts can be punished by execution. More than 50 nations, including members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, opposed the declaration.

Some Islamic countries said at the time that protecting sexual orientation could lead to “the social normalization and possibly the legalization of deplorable acts” such as pedophilia and incest. The declaration was also opposed by the Vatican.

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koplogo2I was asked by the Dutch Foundation of Friends of the Gay Krant (SVGK) to distribute their appeal for an international campaign against the Pope. See their statement below – Peter Tatchell

Gay’s furious at Pope

BEST, NL – JANUARY 4th – The Foundation of Friends of the Gay Krant (SVGK) starts a global action against the gay discriminatory statements of Pope Benedict XVI. 90% of the readers of the Gay Krant wants the Dutch government to protest officially and call for the nuncius in The Hague.

Never before in such a short time there were so many angry phone calls, emails and letters on the desks of the editorial staff of Gay Krant. “On this first working day of the year we really were overwhelmed with responses, reports editor Henk Krol, worldwide initiator of opening up civil marriage.

Henk Krol: “The results of a survey under readers the last few days have been unlikely clear. 90% believe that the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Maxime Verhagen should protest against the pope.

Together with France, the Netherlands launched a declaration at the United Nations against criminalization of homosexuality. The statement was signed by 66 countries.

In recent weeks the Vatican pushed a anti-gay ruling at the UN. The reason is obvious: the opening of the civil marriage as advocated by the SVGK. The Dutch initiative gets worldwide more and more following. Even on the website of the Roman Catholic church can be read: “The Pope fears that marriage between persons of the same sex can become a human right. That would mean that the church does not oppose the impunity of an open civil marriage. We have the freedom not to sin”, reports the website.

Especially the statement of the Netherlands and France to ban homosexuality as an criminal act, is way to far for the Vatican. That would not acknowledge any sexual orientation “and that would be ‘legal uncertainty’ cause, said the Pope’s UN envoy, Archbishop Celestino Migliore, last weekend against Radio Vaticana.

The church will never recognize ‘gay marriage’ warns Martino in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano. Because the natural marriage between man and woman “is very different from the union of two persons of the same gender.

“From God we have received the precious gift of freedom. The freedom to choose whether or not to sin “, the President of the Papal Council Justitia et Pax said.

The UN declaration last month was called for by Minister Maxime Verhagen. He and his French colleague were supported by 66 of the 192 UN member states. 58 countries voted for a counter-declaration which was submitted by Egypt and Syria. They want the freedom to see homosexuality as a criminal act. The French-Dutch proposal was ready for vote in the General Assembly of the UN.

The Vatican is pleased that there is no majority for the statement.

The Holy See has said in many Member States have given support for its position.

A group of MEPs in the Euro parliament was already asked the pope to express in a more modest way.

The Dutch human rights activists Boris Dittrich of SVGK, who also works for Human Rights Watch in New York, and Henk Krol, the motor behind same sex marriage, are starting a worldwide campaign to increase the political role of the Vatican. They have seen with their own eyes how the Vatican lobbied for a UN declaration against gay rights. The text was dictated to Egypt by representatives of the pope. “Recognition of rights of homosexuals would inevitably lead to the legalization of pedophilia, incest and bestiality.”

The Foundation Friends of the Gay Krant, as initiators of opening up civil marriage, has contacted several gay organizations around the world.

Together they will discuss their further steps. They asl for a stop of the right of speech for the Vatican during the sessions of the UN. The Roman Catholic church is now the only religion with the right to speak in de UN-meeting. Neither the other Christian movements, nor Judaism, Islam or Buddhism, for example, have a right to speak. Only the pope has his direct influence in this forum in world politics.

Both Krol as Dittrich believe that statements such as: “Homosexuality is a serious threat to the survival of the human race, just as climate change” are not compatible.

According to SVGK now is the time that the world wakes up and diminish the role of the Vatican at the United Nations forum. “Stop the right to speak for representatives of the pope. Instead, an international inquiry into the complicity of the Vatican to discrimination against gay, women with complicated pregnancies and AIDS patients should be in place.”

All the best,

Henk Krol

Peter Tatchell is the Green Party parliamentary candidate for Oxford East
www.greenoxford.com/peter and www.petertatchell.net

moscowpride2Russian Delegation at UN Explains Country’s Stance on Yesterday’s Statement on Gay and Transgender Rights

Diplomat speaks to GayRussia.Ru

Sent by Nicolas Alexeyev

The Russian Federation declined to support either “side” at yesterday’s United Nations statement in support of the decriminalisation of homosexual relations and respect for the right of people irrespective of this sexual orientation and gender identity, GayRussia.ru learned this afternoon.

While Russia was not among the 66 countries supporting the French statement, it did not support the counter-statement tabled by Syria and supported by 60 states.

“Russian Federation acts against discrimination, intolerance, repressions and acts of violence towards people of non-traditional sexual orientation,” the Russian delegation said at the United Nations yesterday.

“Nevertheless, this narrow specific topic should, in our view, be considered in the context of existing basic universal documents in the sphere of human rights protection.

“Artificial segregation of people with non-traditional sexual orientation into special item in General Assembly agenda can cause its overloading and lead to the shifts of priorities of the UN human rights programme and of the organisational workload, in terms of overcoming discrimination and xenophobia,” the statement concluded.

This was revealed to GayRussia by the Permanent Mission of Russian Federation at the UN in New York. It is understood that the statement was not distributed to the media.

The Russian diplomats at the UN stressed that the position of the Russian Federation was as an individual nation – and not in a grouping with other states.

GayRussia.ru was told that the position of Russia “on such a delicate issue is still at the stage of formation”.

The diplomatic source in Russian Mission did not dismiss the possibility that “Russian position can evolve” in case the UN initiative of France reaches the stage of political resolution which has recommendation value.

On December 10, Russian gay activists called on Sergei Lavrov, Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, to put Russia’s signature to the French statement “in order to stop prosecutions of people on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity”.

Russia itself decriminalised homosexuality in 1993.

Head of GayRussia.ru Nikolai Alekseev said this evening that “for sure we were waiting more from Russia, in particular the endorsement of French statement.

“But the fact that Russia directly – and clearly – talked in the UN against discrimination, intolerance, repressions and violence towards homosexual people, and did not support the position of Arabic states, shows a considerable progressive shift in the country’s position in terms of respect for the rights of the LGBT community.

“Of course we have to welcome this. At the same time we intend to continue lobbying for a more liberal position of Russian diplomacy on this issue in the future,” he concluded.

GayRussia.Ru, UkGayNews.Org.Uk

sunil-onu Date: 18 Dec 2008, UN, New York, Time: 13:30 PM

On the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people (LGBTI) the UN may be divided but we, the people of Nepal, are encouraged to advance everyone’s rights regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. Last year, Nepal’s Supreme Court decision issued directives to the Government of Nepal to recognise gender minorities for the first time. With the Supreme Court’s written findings on the case that were recently issued ordering the Government to protect and defend sexual and gender minorities’ equal rights, opportunities, freedom and security, Nepal has taken a lead in championing inclusion, human rights and freedom in Asia. It is also encouraging to see Nepal’s government commitment to pro poor and inclusive government policies by including a support programme for sexual and gender minorities in the Budget for the first time in Nepal.

It is not just the government and Supreme Court that are becoming more inclusive in Nepal: now a private bank – “Everest Bank” – has changed its account opening form and made it possible to open a bank account as a third gender. A semi government corporation – “Handicraft and Small Industry Corporation” – has started providing baking and sewing and tailoring training to LGBTIs.

When I recently visited India to support LGBTI rights, there many people asking whether Indian society is ready to accept LGBTI rights? Many people used to question whether Nepal, a country which is much more backward and poor compared to India and many other countries is ready to accept gay rights. Now Nepali society and government reflect the Supreme Court ruling. I have been elected as an openly gay MP and being part of the Constituent Assembly are examples of an inclusive, democratic and free society and parliament. If Nepal is ready to make these adjustments, then many countries like India are also long ready. It is just few vocal fanatics on the grounds of “politics or religion” who wish to think that society is not ready. The reality, however, is that society in general is always ready to respect one another, support each other, living in harmony together – regardless of whom we choose to love.

The conservatives wished for women not to have any rights, they wished Dalits – so-called “untouchables” – not to have any rights, indigenous people not to have any rights and many more marginalized people not have any rights, including LGBTIs. But the people in general do not wish to discriminate against their fellow neighbours and family members and things are improving in many fronts. However, there are many rulers and conservative extremists who do not wish to share our freedom, rights and equality – what we all deserve as we are at birth.

Support from the Norwegians, Dutch, British, French on Human Rights, Constitutional Work and HIV/AIDS as well as skill development training – such as beauty salon training and driving lessons to the LGBTs have helped to achieve so much in the last 7-8 years.

I know we seem to be lucky to have access to limited funds on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights but the need is huge and gap remains wide. I would also like to point the double standards that some countries – when it comes to advancing Human Rights, democracy and providing development aid to poor countries. First, some countries do not give a single second thought when providing development foreign aid to the most oppressive and brutal regimes who are cruelly treating and even murdering their own citizens on the ground of sexual orientation and gender identity. Second, none of the countries in the world tax less any citizen because we are gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender and intersex. So why have the tax payer’s money never been directed towards sexual/gender minorities (or only negligible amounts allocated) while you give aid to the poor countries? Why the principle of non discrimination is not applied on the ground of sexual orientation and gender
identities on development aid? This is very crucial question and demands good answers.

Now Nepal is moving towards championing a free, democratic and prosperous society after such a long time of darkness and we need your support. We need your moral support, we need your spiritual support, we need your technical support and we need your financial support.

I know the recession has hit many wealthy countries very hard but the hardest hit are the poorest ones in many parts of the world. The financial crises along with issues around climate change are of considerable concern for all of us to work through. Many wealthy countries have supported poor countries like Nepal when you enjoyed the economic boom. Climate change is affecting countries like Nepal faster than elsewhere because of our extreme altitudes. Now the time has come to show your genuine compassion towards the poor, despite your economic slow down; because the suffering of poor in poor countries has always been incomparable to the rich and has become even worse at this global financial crisis.

So I call on all the developed countries to support the many poor African and Asian countries and poor countries elsewhere.

I thank my government of Nepal and people of Nepal to support this noble cause at the UN and for taking a lead internationally to support LGBTI rights.

I thank you all for this opportunity to share and thank you for listening.

In Solidarity

Sunil Babu pant
Member of Constituent Assembly and Parliament
Nepal

Video: http://webcast.un.org/ramgen/ondemand/specialevents/2008/se081218pm1.rm

66 States Condemn Violations Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

New York, December 19, 2008 – In a powerful victory for the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 66 nations at the UN General Assembly yesterday supported a groundbreaking statement confirming that international human rights protections include sexual orientation and gender identity. It is the first time that a statement condemning rights abuses against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people has been presented in the General Assembly.

The statement drew unprecedented support from five continents, including six African nations. Argentina read the statement before the General Assembly. A cross-regional group of states coordinated the drafting of the statement, also including Brazil, Croatia, France, Gabon, Japan, the Netherlands, and Norway.

The 66 countries reaffirmed “the principle of non-discrimination, which requires that human rights apply equally to every human being regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.” They stated they are “deeply concerned by violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms based on sexual orientation or gender identity,” and said that “violence, harassment, discrimination, exclusion, stigmatization and prejudice are directed against persons in all countries in the world because of sexual orientation or gender identity.”
LGBT NGO representatives at the UNGA

un-group-photos-small1LGBT Activists at the UN General Assembly’s Historic Session, Dec 18, 2008. Back row, left to right: Charlotte Bunch (Center for Women’s Global Leadership/CGWL), Kate Sheill (Amnesty International/AI), Jelena Postic (IGLHRC international advisor), Susana Fried (UNDP), Kim Vance and John Fisher (ARC International), Philippe Colomb (Inter-LGBT France), Renato Sabbadini (ILGA), Rev. Jide Macaulay (Metropolitan Community Churches Nigeria), Second row, left to right: Ariel Herrera (AI), Cynthia Rothschild (CWGL), Paula Ettelbrick (IGLHRC), Vanessa Jackson (International Service for Human Rights), Bruce Knotts (Unitarian Universalist), Joyce Hamilton (COC Netherlands), Todd Larson (IGLHRC). Photo Credit: Adrian Coman, IGLHRC. You can download a high resolution version of the image from IGLHRC’s website.

The statement condemned killings, torture, arbitrary arrest, and “deprivation of economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to health.” The participating countries urged all nations to “promote and protect human rights of all persons, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity,” and to end all criminal penalties against people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

According to calculations by ILGA (the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Association) and other organizations, more than six dozen countries still have laws against consensual sex between adults of the same sex. The majority of these laws were left behind by colonial rulers

http://www.hrw.org/en/reports/2008/12/17/alien-legacy-0

The UN Human Rights Committee, which interprets the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), a core UN treaty, held in a historic 1994 decision that such laws are rights violations – and that human rights law forbids discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity happen regularly around the world. For example:

* In the United States, Amnesty International has documented serious patterns of police abuse against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, including incidents amounting to torture and ill-treatment. The United States refused to sign the General Assembly statement.
* In Egypt, Human Rights Watch documented a massive crackdown on men suspected of homosexual conduct between 2001-2004, in which hundreds or thousands of men were arrested and tortured. Egypt actively opposed the General Assembly statement.
* The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) has documented how, in many African countries, sodomy laws and prejudice deny rights protections to Africans engaged in same-sex practices amid the HIV/AIDS pandemic – and can actually criminalize outreach to affected groups.

The signatories overcame intense opposition from a group of governments that regularly try to block UN attention to violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Only 57 states signed an alternative text promoted by the Organization of the Islamic Conference. While affirming the “principles of non-discrimination and equality,” they claimed that universal human rights did not include “the attempt to focus on the rights of certain persons.”

At first, the Holy See had voiced strong opposition to the General Assembly statement. Its opposition sparked severe criticism by human rights defenders worldwide. In a significant reversal, however, the Holy See indicated to the General Assembly today that it called for repeal of criminal penalties for homosexual conduct.

This year is the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), and the General Assembly statement reaffirms the reach and breadth of UDHR principles. The statement is non-binding, but restates what UN human rights bodies have repeatedly said: that no one should face rights violations because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

Navanetham Pillay, the UN high commissioner for human rights, strongly supported the statement. In a videotaped message, she cited South Africa’s 1996 decision to protect sexual orientation in its Constitution. She pointed to the “task and challenge to move beyond a debate on whether all human beings have rights,” to “secure the climate for implementation.”

Since the Human Rights Committee’s landmark decision in 1994, United Nations experts have repeatedly acted against abuses that target lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, including killings, torture, rape, violence, disappearances, and discrimination in many areas of life. UN treaty bodies have called on states to end discrimination in law and policy.

Other international bodies have also opposed violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, including the Council of Europe and the European Union. In 2008, all 34 member countries of the Organization of American States unanimously approved a declaration affirming that human rights protections extend to sexual orientation and gender identity.

Earlier in the day, the General Assembly also adopted a resolution condemning extrajudicial executions, which contained a reference opposing killings based on sexual orientation. Uganda moved to delete that reference, but the General Assembly rejected this by 78-60.
The signatories to the General Assembly statement 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.
The Full Text of the French Statement and the Webcast of the UN Session

The French, who initiated the statement, have created a website:

http://www.droitslgbt2008.fr

about it with an attached document (PDF format, which can be downloaded) from that contains the statement in French (pages 1-2), Spanish (pages (3-4) and English (pages 5-6).

The entire day’s proceedings at the United Nations-the General Assembly Session, a subsequent panel discussion on “human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity,” and a press conference – were recorded and may be watched via the United Nations’ webcasting archive. Please note: the General Assembly Session lasted for 2 hours and 45 minutes but the statement condemning human rights abuses against LGBT people was read in the last 15-20 minutes. The following links are to the video files on UN website. You need to have Real Player on your computer in order to view the webcast:

* General Assembly: 70th and 71st plenary meeting, Morning session:

http://webcast.un.org/ramgen/ondemand/ga/63/2008/ga081218am.rm

Duration: 2 hours and 45 minutes
* High-level panel discussion on “Human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity”(organized by the Permanent Missions of Argentina, Brazil, Croatia, France, Gabon, the Netherlands and Norway).

http://webcast.un.org/ramgen/ondemand/specialevents/2008/se081218pm1.rm

Duration: 1 hour and 23 minutes.
* Informal comments to the Media by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, H.E. Mr. Maxime Vergahen and the Secretary of State for International Affairs and Human Rights of France, H.E. Ms. Rama Yade. Duration: 16 minutes.

http://webcast.un.org/ramgen/ondemand/stakeout/2008/so081218pm.rm

You can also read coverage of yesterday’s events by the Associated Press, including a comment by IGLHRC’s Executive Director, Paula Ettelbrick, here:

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5h1rNjQnbi3UUwYn7JGfk4pLIO6DgD955IQK80
For more information, please contact the following organizations issuing this statement:

Amnesty International
In New York, Kate Sheill
ARC International
In Canada, Kim Vance
Center for Women’s Global Leadership
In New York, Cynthia Rothschild
COC Netherlands
In New York: Björn van Roozendaal
Global Rights
In Washington, DC, Stefano Fabeni
Human Rights Watch
In New York, Scott Long
ILGA (International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transexual and Intersex Association)
In New York, Renato Sabbadini
(in New York, Philippe Colomb
International Committee for IDAHO (International Day Against Homophobia)
In New York, Louis-Georges Tin
IGLHRC (International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission)
In New York, Hossein Alizadeh

Full Text

ramaonu

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:
http://www.ilga.org/news_results.asp?LanguageID=1&FileCategoryID=9&FileID=1165&ZoneID=7
and
http://www.ilga.org/statehomophobia/ILGA_State_Sponsored_Homophobia_2008.pdf

Press contact:

Louis-Georges Tin – Paris – 00 33 6 19 45 45 52
tinluigi@aol.com

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”

http://www.idahomophobia.org/

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
www.greenoxford.com/peter and www.petertatchell.net

gun9About United Nations Webcast:

2:30 pm Media Stakeout: Maxime Verhagen, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, and Rama Yade, Secretary of State for International Affairs and Human Rights of France.

Letter from Stephen Barris:

Dear all,

The statement on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity is likely to be read Thursday December 18th.

It is impossible at this stage to know at which time it will be given as the agenda depends on the debates that may occur prior to the statement (on a wide range of subjects).

If you want to watch it live, we suggest you

– Open http://www.un.org/webcast/
Select the General Assembly picture below the screen

– Print the agenda

http://www.un.org/ga/third/63/ac363infdoc.pdf

look for agenda item 64(b)

– Follow the webcast regularly to get an idea when the declaration, the counter resolution and a possible debate take place

You can also come back to the site the following days and look for agenda item 64(b) in the archived video for Dec 18

http://www.un.org/webcast/2008.html

Thanks to Vanessa Jackson from ISHR, International Service for Human Rights for the information.

—————————————-

Estimado/as todo/as:

Es probable que jueves 18 de diciembre, se lea la declaración sobre orientación sexual e identidad de género.

En este momento es imposible conocer en qué momento se producirá dado que esto depende de los debates (de una amplia gama de temas) que se produzcan antes de la declaración.

Si desea verlo en directo, puede hacerlo en:

– Abriendo http://www.un.org/webcast/
Seleccione la imagen de la “Asamblea General” en la parte de abajo de la pantalla.

– Imprimiendo la agenda

http://www.un.org/ga/third/63/ac363infdoc.pdf

y mire el tema 64 (b)

– Vea la retransmisión por internet con cierta regularidad para hacerse una idea de cuando tendrán lugar la declaración, la contra-declaración y el posible debate.

– Si lo prefiere, puede visitar la web en los días siguientes y buscar el tema 64 (b) en los archivos del 18 de diciembre:

http://www.un.org/webcast/2008.html

Agradecemos a Vanessa Jackson, del Servicio Internacional para los Derechos Humanos, por la información.

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Caríssimos/as,

É provável que a declaração sobre Orientação Sexual e Identidade de Género seja lida quinta-feira 18 de Dezembro.
Neste momento é impossível saber a que hora terá lugar, uma vez que a agenda depende dos debates que possam dar-se antes da declaração (numa vasta gama de temas).

Se quiser assistir à declaração em directo, sugerimos que:

– Abra http://www.un.org/webcast/
Seleccione a foto da Assembleia Geral no fundo do ecrã

– Imprima a agenda

http://www.un.org/ga/third/63/ac363infdoc.pdf

procure pelo item 64(b)

– Siga a transmissão pela internet regularmente, para ter uma ideia de quando a declaração, a contra resolução e um possível debate tenham lugar.

Também pode voltar ao site nos dias seguintes e procure por agenda item 64(b) nos arquivos de vídeo de 18 de Dezembro.
http://www.un.org/webcast/2008.html

Agradeço a Vanessa Jackson da ISHR, Serviço Internacional para os Direitos Humanos, pela informação.

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Cheres toutes, chers tous,

La déclaration sur l’Orientation Sexuelle et l’Identité de Genre devrait être lue jeudi 18 décembre.

Il est impossible à ce stade de savoir à quelle heure elle aura lieu, étant donné que l’ordre du jour dépend des débats qui pourront se tenir auparavant (sur une grande variété de sujets).

Si vous voulez la regarder en direct, nous vous suggérons :

– de vous rendre à l’adresse suivante : http://www.un.org/webcast/
Sélectionez l’image de l’Assemblée Générale sous l’écran.

– d’imprimer l’ordre du jour (en anglais)
http://www.un.org/ga/third/63/ac363infdoc.pdf

et de chercher l’article 64(b)

– de suivre régulièrement la diffusion en ligne pour avoir une idée de l’heure à laquelle la déclaration, la contre-résolution et un possible débat auront lieu.

Vous pouvez également retourner sur le site les jours suivants et rechercher l’article 64(b) de l’ordre du jour dans les archives vidéos du 18 décembre :
http://www.un.org/webcast/2008.html

Merci pour cette information à Vanessa Jackson de l’ISHR, de l’ONG Service International des Droits Humains

Stephen Barris
Communication officer

ILGA
International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Association –
Asociación Internacional de Lesbianas, Gays, Bisexuales, Trans e Intersex
17 rue de la Charité – 1210 Brussels – Belgium
Tel: +32 (0)2 502 24 71
www.ilga.org

See also:

gaypope2

Vatican refusal to back UN gay rights declaration is true to form by Therion

The Vatican refusal to sign the declaration before the UN that seeks to decriminalize homosexuality worldwide is true to form. In a recent ‘clarification’ the Vatican claims that while it has declined to sign-on, it condemns ‘unjust’ discrimination against homosexuals – without saying what exactly might constitute just discrimination.

By exempting itself from the list of states calling for decriminalization, the Vatican is in effect handing moral authority to those nations that are determined to keep homosexuals on the periphery of society, under fear of being persecuted for the ‘crime’ of gay orientation.

The two-faced position adopted by the Vatican is nothing new.

In a recent Guardian article, Peter Tatchell covers part of the Vatican’s abysmal track record on gay rights.

Unsurprisingly, the Vatican and the Organisation of Islamic States are leading the fight against the UN declaration. The opposition of the Pope is truly sickening, depraved and shameless.Of course, the Vatican has form. In 2004, it teamed up with Islamist dictatorships in the UN Commission on Human Rights to thwart a resolution sponsored by Brazil that opposed homophobic violence and discrimination. The Holy See is so viciously homophobic that it opposed the UN condemnation of the murder of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Recently a sit-in was staged near St Peter’s Square to protest the Vatican’s position on the declaration. Protesters sat under the banners of Arcigay and Arcilesbica – the two main gay and lesbian advocacy groups in Italy.

pope-22The main thrust of the Vatican position hinges on UN envoy Migliore’s convoluted contention that signing the document might “pillory” countries where homosexuality is illegal and force them to create “new categories (gay people) protected from discrimination.” And this is a bad thing?

Of course the main concern is that ‘normalizing’ homosexuality might lead to same-sex unions. But this makes little sense. The social sanctions and taboos against same-sex marriage in countries where homosexuality is outlawed makes the Vatican’s stated concerns about same-sex marriage little more than a red herring. It is an excuse to avoid stepping up to the plate on this issue… a posture consistent with the Vatican’s homophobic agenda.

Full article