Archive for the ‘US’ Category

San Francisco Vigil for Honduran Gays and Democracy by Michael Petrelis

Today was inauguration day in Honduras, and Porfirio Lobo was sworn in as the country’s new President. To mark the occasion, gay and democracy advocates took to the street in solidarity with Hondurans. For two-hours this morning, 14 activists staged two vigils at the Honduran consulate in San Francisco’s historic Flood Building on Market Street.

The first vigil took place first, when five gay and HIV/AIDS activists went to the consulate’s office, only to find it closed for the special day. We spent half an hour in the hallway, talking with people from other offices on the 8th floor. We snapped a few pics and thought to leave a message for the workers, when they return tomorrow.

Our signs with Walter Trochez’s visage were taped to the consulate’s door, and a few were slipped under it. A small way to express our concern for the gay citizens of Honduras, especially those who’ve been murdered, and for the full protections of human rights protocols for all Hondurans.

The remainder of the morning was spent engaged in a vigil and flyer-distribution in front of the office building housing the consulate. Members of the Bay Area Latin American Solidarity Coalition, BALASC, including several seniors born in Honduras whose families have suffered harms by rightwing forces over the years. Click here to learn more about the orgs that comprise BALASC, and its multi-faceted political agenda.

This Saturday, January 30, starting at 4 pm, BALASC is holding a town hall meeting with Jose Luis Baquedano, an Honduran labor and political leader active in anti-coup efforts. That meeting is at the Center for Political Education, located at 522 Valencia Street, between 16th and 17th Streets. Stop by to learn more about pro-gay and pro-democracy forces in Honduras.

And big thanks to all the wonderful folks who came out today, on just two-days’ notice, to stand in solidarity with gay people in Honduras, and that nation’s democracy.

Full article: San Francisco Vigil for Honduran Gays and Democracy by Michael Petrelis

See also:

Folsom Street Fair 2009 Poster

In 2009 the world’s largest leather event, the Folsom Street Fair®, will take place on Sunday, September 27, 2009 from 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM. We are sure to see the fairgrounds filled with people in their most outrageous leather/rubber/fetish attire enjoying the worlds largest and best loved Leather fair.

The Folsom Street Fair is a true San Francisco original. With over 400,000 people in attendance covering 13 city blocks, the Fair is the largest leather/fetish event in the world and the third largest, single-day outdoor event in California. Folsom Street Events is thrilled to celebrate the 26th Folsom Street Fair with style and a week’s worth of truly outstanding events and programs over the course of San Francisco Leather Week.

The 26th Folsom Street Fair will offer 250+ exciting and sexy exhibitors and vendors, hot food and cold drinks, and tons of artistic and cultural entertainment. The event hosts two live stages with 16 live alternative acts, a huge dance area with internationally renowned DJs, a dedicated area for women (“Venus’ Playground”) and a newly inaugurated artists’ area.

Don’t forget to book your hotel now! Check out our Travel Deals section for special rates on airfares and rooms at our host hotels.

This year, as always, it will be located in San Francisco’s South of Market district on Folsom Street between 7th and 12th Streets. Donations at the gates and proceeds from beverage purchases will benefit local charities.

Next year, in 2010, the Folsom Street Fair® will take place on Sunday, September 26, 2010. Remember the Folsom Street Fair® is always scheduled for the last Sunday in September.

Full Infos: http://folsomstreetfair.org/

Video: San Francisco Leaders Want End to Torture and Murder of GLBT Iraqis by Clinton Fein

Original Article: SF Gays to Pelosi: Condemn Torture of LGBT Iraqis by Michael Petrelis

My good friend and political artist Clinton Fein has made a terrific video of the May 17 solidarity rally and fundraiser for gay Iraqis at Harvey Milk Plaza, in Nancy Pelosi’s congressional district.

For me, the most relevant and emotionally moving speaker was community organizer Gary Virginia, who demanded our member of Congress, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, speak out against the torture of LGBT Iraqis.

It’s unacceptable that Pelosi, who represents the most energized gay political district in the nation, is getting a free ride about the abuse and gruesome murder of gay Iraqis from Democratic gay leaders at HRC, NGLTF and GLAAD, at a time when she is mired in controversy over torture.

I’m proud to associate with Virginia and other San Francisco voters who want our Congressmember to use her voice to bring attention to the plight of the gay community in Iraq.

After you watch Fein’s video, give Pelosi’s speaker office in DC a call and leave a message, demanding that she forcefully condemn the torture and killing of LGBT Iraqis. Let Pelosi hear your voice on behalf of justice for our brothers and sisters in Iraq. Her number is 1-202-225-0100.

Full Article

See Also:

Gays Without Borders

San Francisco: 100 Protest LGBT Iraqi Murders – $5K Raised by Michael Petrelis

SF IRAQI PROTEST © Wilson Credit© Credit: Bill Wilson Photos

SF: 100 Protest LGBT Iraqi Murders, $5K Raised, Pelosi Criticized for Silence

By Michael Petrelis

Never doubt that a handful of pissed off queens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that has ever moved the queer movement meaningfully forward.

At least one-hundred people came out in today’s heatwave over the course of a one-hour rally and participated in San Francisco’s first action for IDAHO, International Day Against Homophobia, Sunday afternoon at Harvey Milk Plaza. We rallied against the killings and torture of LGBT Iraqis, and expressed unwavering solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the U.S.-occupied country.

Thanks to the efforts of my organizing colleagues, Gary Virginia of Gays Without Borders and Jeff Cotter of Rainbow World Fund, and several members of the ever-fabulous Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, over the past week and today’s bucket brigade, slightly more than $5,000 was raised. The funds will go to direct-relief aid for the LGBT Iraqi community. Tax-deductible donations can be made at http://rainbowfund.org.

My favorite moment came at the end of the rally. Gary Virginia criticized our very own Rep. Nancy Pelosi, who, he pointed out, is also Speaker of the House, and whose district includes the possibly gayest neighborhood in all of America, was recently in Baghdad and she was silent during her visit about the LGTB murders.

“She’s said nothing about the atrocities and that has to change,” explained Virginia, to boisterous applause and cheers.

How the hell is it possible our Congressional rep is 100% mute about the murders of homosexuals in Baghdad, is the great unanswered question of the day.

Artist and activist Clinton Fein is editing and preparing a video of today’s demonstration, which will be made public tomorrow. Look for it here and on his site Annoy.com.

Let’s look at photos from today and see a few of the fine people who showed up. On behalf of the organizers, we thank you. Most photos, except where noted otherwise, were snapped by me.

Full Article Here

See Also:

Gays Without Borders

San Francisco Gays Protest 6 Gay Iraqi Murders – April 6, 5 PM, Harvey Milk Plaza

By Michael Petrelis

http://mpetrelis.blogspot.com/2009/04/san-francisco-gays-protest-6-gay-iraqi.html

milkplazaOver the weekend, the Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters news wires, along with CNN, have reported on the murders of six gay men in the slums of Baghdad in recent weeks.

This is one news account of the anti-gay violence:

Residents told AFP that the bodies of two men aged 16 and 18 were found on waste ground on the outskirts of Sadr City, and that several days previously two homosexuals had been dumped in the street with their arms and legs broken.
During Friday prayers in Sadr City, a poor district of Baghdad where some two million Iraqis live, Sheikh Jassem al-Mutairi slammed what he called “new private practices by some men who dress like women, who are effeminate.

And this round-up of bad news is from the ThinkProgress site:

An Iraqi defense ministry official reports that at least six gay men have been shot dead in two separate incidents during the past 10 days in a Shia-controlled part of Baghdad. The official said today that three bullet-riddled bodies of gay individuals have been identified in Sadr City:

“Three corpses of homosexuals have been recovered in Sadr City. Two of the bodies, found on Thursday, had pieces of paper attached on which was written the word ‘Pervert.’ The third body was retrieved on Friday,” the official said.

Other dead bodies had the word “puppies” written on their chests. Puppy is a derogatory word used by residents in Sadr City to refer to gays. Witnesses told CNN that a Sadr City cafe, which was a popular gathering spot for gays, was also set on fire.

In response to the gay murders, longtime affordable housing and queer community organizer Tommi Avicolli Mecca, gay Board of Supervisors’ member Bevan Dufty and myself will be holding a speak out against the killings, and the U.S. occupation of Iraq, on Monday.

Here are the details:

WHAT: Rally and speak out over gay murders in Iraq

WHEN April 6

TIME: 5 PM

WHERE: Harvey Milk Plaza, Castro and Market Streets

Please join us for this important early evening street visibility action to call attention and object to the homo-hatred in Iraq. More details on the action to follow later today and tomorrow.

See also previous posts:

christiansantigayafrica

US Christians Accused of Exporting Anti-Gay Message to Africa

By Staff Writer, PinkNews.co.uk

A conference in Uganda which begins today has been condemned by human rights groups.

The 3-day seminar in Kampala, which opens today, features several American speakers known for their efforts to dehumanise LGBT people and for their belief that homosexuality can be “cured.”

The speakers include Scott Lively, Don Schmierer, and Caleb Lee Brundidge—leading voices in the crusade by religious extremists to roll back basic human rights for LGBT people in the United States.

IGLHRC said that Brundidge is affiliated with Extreme Prophetic Ministry in Phoenix, Arizona. Schmierer is on the board of the so-called “ex-gay” organization Exodus International. Lively is well known for his belief that the Nazi Holocaust never happened.

“The American religious right is finally showing its hand and revealing the depth of its support for homophobia in Africa,” said IGLHRC‘s Executive Director Cary Alan Johnson.

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

askiglhrc

Sent by Paula Ettelbrick

Next week, during the session of the United Nations General Assembly, a joint government statement on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity will be presented from the podium. It will be the first time that the General Assembly has formally addressed violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity. As of today, 55 countries spanning 4 continents have signed on to the statement and 5 more countries have indicated their willingness to sign on to the statement, which calls for greater attention to human rights violations perpetrated because of a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity.

And, as of today, the United States has not signed on to the Joint Statement.

IGLHRC and the Council For Global Equality strongly encourage the LGBT community and our allies to send letters today to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, Assistant Secretary Brian Hook, and the US Ambassador to the UN, Mr. Zalmay Khalilzad, asking that the United States join its colleagues from around the world in speaking out against the torture, arrests, violence, discrimination and stigma faced by so many people everywhere because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

Letters to Secretary Rice and Assistant Secretary Hook can be faxed to +1-202-736-4116 or emailed to the US State Department by clicking on this link: http://contact-us.state.gov/, and then clicking on the “email a question/comment” tab and filling out the on-line form. Letters to Ambassador Khalilzad can be faxed to +1 212-415-4443 or emailed to: usa@un.int.

Sample Letter

December 12, 2008

The Honorable Condoleeza Rice
United States Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Madam Secretary:

During the current United Nations General Assembly session, 55 member states will present a Joint Statement on Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and another 5 have indicated that they are willing to sign on to the statement. The Statement reaffirms the universality of human rights and specifically voices concern about the treatment so consistently suffered by those whose sexual orientation or gender identity are the basis for torture, violence, discrimination, stigmatization and death.

We are very troubled and mystified that the United States has not yet joined this non-binding call for basic human rights. We write to ask you to sign onto the Joint Statement and take on the leadership of urging others to join as well.

The widespread incidents of human rights violations against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender people, and all sexual minorities are indisputable. They have been documented thoroughly by NGOs around the world and the UN, and reported with great frequency in the international press. The US State Department itself reports yearly on a variety of violations documented by Embassies around the world. And, the United States Supreme Court has ruled that both laws criminalizing homosexuality and government action that targets LGBT people for discrimination are unconstitutional.

As you yourself so accurately stated on the eve of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Declaration “transcends political and ethnic differences and national boundaries, even as it embraces humanity in all of its diversity.”

The countries that have signed onto the Statement include: Andorra, Armenia, Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Cape Verde, the Central African Republic, Chile, Cuba, Cyprus, Ecuador, Georgia, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Montenegro, New Zealand, San Marino, Sao Tome et Principe, Serbia, Switzerland, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Uruguay, and Venezuela. All 27 member states of the European Union are also signatories. And, we are still receiving word of additional countries that have agreed to sign on.

Shouldn’t the United States join this call for universal human rights and against the continued mistreatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people around the world? We eagerly await your response.

Sincerely,

Paula L. Ettelbrick

Executive Director
International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission

Cc:

His Excellency Mr. Zalmay Khalilzad, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
United States Mission to the United Nations 140 East 45th St
New York, NY 10017
+1 212-415-4443
usa@un.int
Assistant Secretary Brian Hook, Bureau of International Organization Affairs
2201 C Street NW
Room 6323
Washington, DC 20520
+1 202-736-4116

email: executive_director@iglhrc.org
phone: 212-430-6054
web: http://www.iglhrc.org

The Mission of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission is to secure the full enjoyment of human rights of all people and communities subject to discrimination or abuse on the basis of sexual orientation or expression, gender identity or expression and/or HIV status.

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.

Copyright tetu.com
par Quotidien/AFP
Info du 11 décembre 2008

gun9Obama urged to back UN LGBT rights statement

Decriminalisation statement now expected 15 to 20 December

Still time to lobby governments to support UN initiative

LATEST UPDATE on UN General Assembly statement

London UK – 11 December 2008

“I urge Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and the US Congress to speak out in support of the forthcoming UN statement on LGBT human rights,” said Peter Tatchell of the British lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) human rights movement, OutRage!

“To draw a line under the homophobic policies of the Bush administration, they need to publicly endorse this UN initiative for LGBT human rights.

“If the US government does not sign up, it will be aligning itself with homophobic non-signing regimes like Iran, Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Uganda and Belarus,” he said.

The presentation of the ground-breaking statement on LGBT issues to the UN General Assembly is now expected to take place between 15 and 20 December (not 10 December, as previously reported). The exact date is yet to be finalised. It partly depends on other UN business.

This means there is still time to lobby governments to sign up and support the UN LGBT rights statement (copy below).

It will be the first time in its history that the UN General Assembly has had before it a statement in support of LGBT human rights.

“The failure of President Bush to approve this UN statement is a shabby betrayal of the humanitarian values that the US claims to represent and defend,” added Mr Tatchell.

“The US government often berates Zimbabwe, Burma and Sudan over their human rights violations. These condemnations will ring hollow if the US refuses to support the UN statement. This is a test of the US government’s commitment to universal human rights.

“Washington will lose ever more respect and credibility if it fails to endorse this initiative for LGBT human rights,” he said.

UPDATE:

UN statement on decriminalising homosexuality and supporting LGBT human rights

There are a number of new developments:

The UN “declaration” is being called a “statement” and technically (in UN terms) is it a statement not a declaration, so it is best to call it a statement in any publicity or media coverage.

The statement is finalised, so the US and other countries cannot claim that it is not finalised and use this as an excuse to explain their non-signature (a copy of the UN statement follows below).

Please note that the recommendations of the UN statement include more than the decriminalisation of homosexuality:

As well as seeking the decriminalisation of same-sex acts, the statement also 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 homophobia and transphobia to be allowed to carry out their humanitarian work unimpeded.

A list of supporting countries (as of now) is below.

Contrary to earlier reports, Australia and Venezuela have signed. Guinea-Bissau was thought to have agreed but has, in fact, not yet signed up. It probably will sign but this is not 100% certain.

France may not now present and read the statement to the UN General Assembly. It might instead hand this task to a developing country (so the statement does not seem a purely western initiative).

CONFIRMED SIGNATORIES SO FAR – MORE PENDING

According to Human Rights Watch, these countries have signed so far:

Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Venezuela.

FULL TEXT OF THE UN STATEMENT

We have the honour to make this statement on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity on behalf of [.]

1 – We reaffirm the principle of universality of human rights, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights whose 60th anniversary is celebrated this year, Article 1 of which proclaims that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”;

2 – We reaffirm that everyone is entitled to the enjoyment of human rights without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status, as set out in Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 2 of the International Covenants on Civil and Political, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, as well as in article 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;

3 – We reaffirm the principle of non-discrimination which requires that human rights apply equally to every human being regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity;

4 – We are deeply concerned by violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms based on sexual orientation or gender identity;

5 – We are also disturbed that violence, harassment, discrimination, exclusion, stigmatisation and prejudice are directed against persons in all countries in the world because of sexual orientation or gender identity, and that these practices undermine the integrity and dignity of those subjected to these abuses;

6 – We condemn the human rights violations based on sexual orientation or gender identity wherever they occur, in particular the use of the death penalty on this ground, extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, the practice of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, arbitrary arrest or detention and deprivation of economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to health;

7 – We recall the statement in 2006 before the Human Rights Council by fifty four countries requesting the President of the Council to provide an opportunity, at an appropriate future session of the Council, for discussing these violations;

8 – We commend the attention paid to these issues by special procedures of the Human Rights Council and treaty bodies and encourage them to continue to integrate consideration of human rights violations based on sexual orientation or gender identity within their relevant mandates;

9 – We welcome the adoption of Resolution AG/RES. 2435 (XXXVIII-O/08) on “Human Rights, Sexual Orientation, and Gender Identity” by the General Assembly of the Organization of American States during its 38th session in 3 June 2008;

10 – We call upon all States and relevant international human rights mechanisms to commit to promote and protect human rights of all persons, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity;

11 – We urge States to take all the necessary measures, in particular legislative or administrative, to ensure that sexual orientation or gender identity may under no circumstances be the basis for criminal penalties, in particular executions, arrests or detention.

12 – We urge States to ensure that human rights violations based on sexual orientation or gender identity are investigated and perpetrators held accountable and brought to justice;

13 – We urge States to ensure adequate protection of human rights defenders, and remove obstacles which prevent them from carrying out their work on issues of human rights and sexual orientation and gender identity.

ACTION ALERT

The presentation of the statement for the worldwide decriminalisation of homosexuality and for the human rights of LGBT people is now expected to take place at the UN General Assembly between 15 and 20 December.

This means there is still time to lobby governments to sign up and support it.

The list of signatory countries is growing but it is still well short of a majority.

With coordinated, concerted lobbying efforts by LGBT and human rights organisations we can persuade more countries to endorse the UN statement.

Please redouble your efforts to get your local legislators and political leaders to press your government to declare its commitment to support the statement – if it has not done so.

If your government has already announced its support for the UN statement, please use whatever influence you can muster with neighbouring governments that have not yet signed up.

A short lobbying briefing on the UN statement follows below:

UN General Assembly to consider a joint statement urging the decriminalisation of homosexuality worldwide

By Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner

It will be the first time in its history that the UN General Assembly has been presented with a statement in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) human rights.

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

Note: LGBT human rights have, however, been previously raised in other UN forums and commissions.

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.

Yet 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.

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

The UN decriminalisation statement will be tabled in the General Assembly with the backing of all 27 member states of the European Union and of other countries in Africa, Australasia and Latin America.

South Africa and the US are among the many countries that have not indicated their backing.

In the run up to the presentation of the statement in the UN General Assembly, more countries that have not signed up so far are likely to confirm their support.

An all-out lobbying effort in the next week will increase our chances of a large roll-call of UN member states in support of the statement.

Thank you and solidarity, Peter Tatchell, OutRage! London UK.

See also: