Category Archives: United Nations

The Jamaican Government schizophrenic on human rights ?

N1258318-page-001 N1258318-page-002

Here is an excerpt of what our government refused to support: (CLICK IMAGE TO DOWNLOAD THE PDF)

Sixty-seventh session
Third Committee
Agenda item 69 (b) - Promotion and protection of human rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms

Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Guatemala, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Monaco, Montenegro, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Island: draft resolution Extra judicial, summary or arbitrary executions

The General Assembly, Recalling the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

1 which guarantees the right to life, liberty and security of person, the relevant provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

2 and other relevant human rights conventions, Reaffirming the mandate of the Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, as set out in Council resolution 17/5 of 16 June 2011,

3 Welcoming the universal ratification of the Geneva Conventions of 12 August  1949,

4 which alongside human rights law provide an important framework of accountability in relation to extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions during armed conflict, Mindful of all its resolutions on the subject of extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions and the resolutions of the Commission on Human Rights and of the Human Rights Council on the subject,

__________________
1 Resolution 217 A (III).
2 See resolution 2200 A (XXI), annex.
3 See Official Records of the General Assembly, Sixty-sixth Session, Supplement No. 53 (A/66/53),
chap. III, sect. A.
4 United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 75, Nos. 970-973.

The recent surprise discovery by some human rights groups and activists that the Jamaica government via its foreign affairs ministry voted yes to change a specific resolution that offered protection from discrimination and state sanctioned killings based on said sexual orientation is now gaining some traction and has evoked mostly negative responses depending on how one looks at how the discussions have been framed. This is the same country that led the struggle along with others under the leadership of Prime Minister Hugh Shearer Internationally on Human Rights and we have subsequently ratified treatises, voted positively on other matters including very public international affairs.

The widely held believe of the “promise” for some persons or the proposal made by Prime Minister Simpson Miller to review the buggery law with a conscience vote the mechanism however has not been outlines fully, this garnered international recognition from other leaders and which ultimately led to the Time Magazine awarding her one of the most 100 influential persons in the world award thus making us look progressive but now?

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One of her ministers has a set of questions to answer such as why was the vote done so as to avoid offering specific protection from discrimination due to sexual orientation? that Ministry has been mum since the news broke and the Ministry’s representatives declined a radio interview on the matter. They need to be reminded that they are servants of the people, this reminds me so much of the gymnastics during the Sexual Offences Bill debate and the Charter of Rights over its ten plus year period it stayed on the parliament agenda with the subsequent repeated interference by religious right groups such as the Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship who used legal manoeuvrings to move words such as “sex” suggesting it would have opened doors for homosexual rights agenda and gay marriage agitation by the gay lobby. We see them now acting up aided and abetted by foreign zealots and well funded too spending thousands on ads and other activity when the poor need help.

reminder of the PNP when A. J Nicholson was the opposition spokesman on justice: Opposition sides with Govt on No to same sex marriage 

The bigger picture is the protection of the least amongst us and ALL persons should have protection under the state, the Jamaica government denied offering protection to such a group being us homosexuals all because the language is specific to the type of discrimination. Isn’t it A. J. Nicholson the Minister now of Foreign Affairs, the same A. J. who was very vocal in the aforementioned Sexual Offences Bill/Charter of Rights slammed the suggested and attempted repeal of buggery, parliamentary submission by JFLAG everytime there was a hint in the language that seems in the eyes of some to offer a perceived loophole to other “rights” that we do not deserve they act most times covertly to trash the clauses or sentences revealing such.

We have a culture we know of extreme homophobia and homo-negativity we also have a culture that would extract a significant political rice were any government were to be seen voting to protect supposed “deviants”  it is either we agree as a nation via our governments that human rights are inalienable to all persons of the citizenry including those who visit on our shores or we say no are not going to extend human rights because of some political issue. To be denied the protection simply because of behaviour patterns while ignoring consent and privacy is just plain wrong, a wrong that has been carried on for generations but the emotions run high and cloud the level headed discourse that is required on this issue for us to get to a pluralistic society. We are the same society that has no problem suggesting taking matters to the international commission on human rights for example or the Privy Council or the suggested Caribbean Court of Justice that of the face of it is about to be foisted on us whether we like it or not. Strange when the death penalty was prescribed by local courts and upheld via the PC our government cries fowl and hold prisoners for over five years on death row all because it wants to look good internationally then the PC rules that those accused cannot be hanged who are held over the five year period (after exhausting the necessary appeals)  the complain that we are being dictated to when it was OUR OWN Jamaican law that are used by the PC to adjudicate matters presented to it by Jamaicans litigants who use that avenue.

We cannot have it both ways, either we are for rights or against, when the political pundits sought the job of leadership is was to do just that, LEAD, it’s not going to be easy and there are some unpopular decisions that maybe taken for the greater good of society, leaders must rise to the occasion  that is their mettle and when it is tested it must be found to have been vigilant, strong and forthright in defending human rights.

Beyond the Headlines host Dionne Jackson Miller had Arlene Harrison Henry of The Independent Jamaica Council for Human Rights on Human Rights Day discussing the the removal of language in the form of sexual orientation on the Summary Executions UN Resolution – On November 21, 2012, Jamaica voted against resolution A/C.3/67/L.36 at the United Nations condemning extra-judicial, summary or arbitrary executions which urges States “to investigate promptly and thoroughly all killings, including… all killings committed for any discriminatory reason, including sexual orientation.” Additionally, recent incidents of vigilante attacks on perceived gay persons continue to undermine the achievements and call into question the national commitment to equality for persons of diverse sexual orientation listen:

What we have here now is that we have failed that test for some of the vulnerable amongst us, myself included as a gay man and others in the society where we have copped out in the matter of sexual orientation. The government  is weak on the things that matter and the things that will last defining how the least amongst us will live onwards with protection specifically set out. Instead some persons want the language to say “any other reasons or groups therein”

When certain key words appear they run and scream that someone is imposing homosexuality or conditioning children as in the HFLE matter or when it comes to tolerance persons like Dr Wayne West equate it to supporting fisting and felching practices that are in the extreme and done overseas but unethical pinned on us to bolster his anti gay agenda.

Here are some more reactions from the talk show circuit giving us some insight as to how the public is seeing this and believe me the views are so skewed out there.:

Nationwide’s Ron Mason with caller on Buggery & the UN sexual orientation res

Nationwide’s Ron Mason – caller suggests clinic for gays

Nationwide Radio’s Ron Mason w/caller on Gay parenting/UN Yes vote ..

Much to ponder on as a nation

Peace and tolerance

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OHCHR: Discriminatory Laws and Practices & Acts of Violence Against Individuals Based on their Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity

The United Nations has produced its first ever report on LGBT rights. The UN Human Rights Council requested the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, to prepare the report in a resolution in June of this year.

That resolution was led by South Africa and the brave Cameroonian lawyer and LGBT rights defender Alice N’Kom said:

“I am so proud that this breakthrough was initiated by an African country, and that South Africa is standing up for human rights. Not only were they leaders at the United Nations in pushing for the passage of this historic resolution on LGBT rights, they are also setting an example for all African countries and sending a simple message : homophobia is not an African value.”

The pro-LGBT Ugandan Anglican Bishop Christopher Senyonjo said:

“They have created an “indaba” – a listening process that is familiar to Africans. They have provided the safety for many thousands of people to open deep wounds again and share their stories, experiences and aspirations.  Their courage is to be commended in the hope the next generation may not have to suffer the indignities of our blood-stained past.”

“This work represents the possibility that we can to learn to respect each other, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.  We can learn to forgive each other for our complicity in silence or for acts of violence in word and deed against LGBT people.”

“There is another African tradition whereby the spilling of the blood of another is regarded as a major taboo and should be avoided by all faithful people. The spilling of blood caused by homophobia should become our global taboo. This report is a small step towards new possibilities and hopes.”

The findings of the report are due to be presented and discussed by governments at the Human Rights Council in March 2012.

Among its most important recommendations is a call for the decriminalization of same-sex relations between consenting adults. It also notes the particular experiences of lesbians and other women who suffer violence, killings, rape and abuse, often at the hands of family and community. The report includes a call for protection and recognition of the self-identified gender of trans persons.

On refugees and asylum seekers:

  • The UN urges governments to recognize persecution based on sexual orientation and gender identity as grounds for refugee status, and to train asylum adjudicators and government officials to be sensitive to the unique challenges faced by LGBTI refugees.
  • The report recognizes the extreme vulnerability of LGBTI refugees at risk of violence both before they flee their homelands, and during the refugee status determination and resettlement process. It also calls for a more consistent approach for safeguarding the human rights of LGBTI refugees.
  • The report urges governments not to return LGBTI refugees to countries they have fled where their freedom will be threatened because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Jessica Stern, Acting Executive Director of The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission said;

“The report is a tribute to all of the activists who have fought for recognition of homophobic violence and transphobic discrimination over decades, often in the face of extreme hostility. It will serve as an invaluable aid to each one of us who seeks to advance LGBT rights – not only at the United Nations but in cities and towns around the world.”

The release of Pillay’s report follows another landmark at the United Nations, which was the 10 December international consultation organised by UNESCO to address bullying against LGBT students in educational institutions. This took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and brought together experts from UN agencies, NGOs, ministries of education and academia from more than 25 countries around the world.

All participants of the consultation agreed on a joint statement. Chinese and African representatives at the event noted the importance of both sharing experience as well as evidence gathering to develop a “solid foundation when approaching schools and policy-makers.”OHCHR: Discriminatory Laws and Practices and Acts of Violence Against Individuals Based on their Sexual Ori…

International Day for Tolerance

Today is International Day of Tolerance and the focus is on discussions about dealing with issues affecting groups and individuals alike.

In 1996, the UN General Assembly (by resolution 51/95) invited UN Member States to observe the International Day for Tolerance on 16 November, with activities directed towards both educational establishments and the wider public.

This action followed on the United Nations Year for Tolerance, 1995, proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993 at the initiative of UNESCO, as outlined in the Declaration of Principles on Tolerance and Follow-up Plan of Action for the Year.

The 2005 World Summit Outcome document (A/RES/60/1) furthered the commitment of Heads of State and Government to advance human welfare, freedom and progress everywhere, as well as to encourage tolerance, respect, dialogue and cooperation among different cultures, civilizations and peoples.

Secretary-General’s Message for 2011

This is a period in which the old world is slowly but irreversibly changing and the contours of a new one are just beginning to take shape. Traditional institutions are being challenged. Budgets are being squeezed. Families are being stressed. All of this flux and churning creates enormous anxiety.At times of change, we must stay true to the ideals and principles that are at the heart of the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Among those core values is tolerance. Our practice of tolerance must mean more than peaceful coexistence, crucial as that is. It must be an active understanding fostered through dialogue and positive engagement with others.This is especially critical in combating the discrimination that causes so much divisiveness, destruction and death. We all have a responsibility to protect those vulnerable to discrimination, whether based on race, religion, nationality, language, gender, sexual orientation or other factors. Practicing tolerance can serve as the antidote to prejudice and hatred.UNESCO plays a special role in fostering active tolerance by promoting quality education for all girls and boys; advancing a free and pluralistic media, including on the Internet; and protecting cultural heritage and nurturing respect for cultural diversity.

As we face the complex and global challenges of our times, the United Nations will continue to work for mutual understanding among peoples and countries, a bedrock need in an interconnected world. As we mark this international day, let us remember that active tolerance begins with each of us, every day.

Irina Bokova

Message from the President of the 66th Session of the General Assembly, His Excellency, Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser

Fifteen years have passed since the United Nations General Assembly invited Member States to observe the International Day for Tolerance on 16 November.

Today, as our world goes through a period of unprecedented transition, it is more pressing than ever that we foster tolerance among the world’s populations.

In this time of change, we remind ourselves that knowledge, openness, communication, freedom of expression and freedom of thought, conscience and belief are essential elements for peace, respect and appreciation of diversity.

It is gratifying to note that there is growing acknowledgement of the need for tolerance and dialogue among different cultures and groups of people. However, we are also witnessing the continuation, and in some cases an increase, of discrimination, extremism and radicalism.

The complexities and challenges of today’s world call for enhanced respect, understanding and appreciation between individuals, families and communities. Integral to this approach are attitudes of openness, mutual listening and solidarity. In this respect, schools, universities, the home and the workplace are all important places for further promoting tolerance. Greater efforts need to be made, in particular, to teach children about tolerance and human rights, about diversity and other cultures, and about other ways of life. Peace education needs to be a part of the teaching in all educational institutions. The media also has an important, constructive role to play in facilitating free and open dialogue.

On this International Day, I encourage Member States to reaffirm their commitment to promoting the universal human rights and fundamental freedoms of their peoples by supporting activities that build tolerance, including those directed towards educational establishments and the wider public. In doing so, we will enrich our oneness and our diversity, and thereby help to build a peaceful world for all.

Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser

I decided to republish in part an old post I did in October 2009 as it captures most of the present day issues affecting us chief among them is the call for the buggery law to be repealed and a threat from overseas aid country the UK to withdraw said aid if we commonwealth countries do not adjust.

Promoting homosexuality? No, its about freedom of choice, privacy & tolerance

In Jamaica today many of the anti gay lobby flex their muscles every now and again by grabbing a Bible or the law books and beating us over the head damming us to hell already and saying gays are trying to promote homosexuality as if it’s some contagious disease that you get on touch or contact and reminding us buggery is illegal. Some including lawyers and journalists also make the mistake to say homosexuality is illegal when it is not, morality cannot be legislated and this is not a theocracy though by the looks of it we are slowly getting there. It is buggery, the physical act of anal penetration that the law is concerned with not the other factors and stereotypes of male homosexuality.

They also seem to forget that heterosexuals also practice anal sex when presenting their arguments. Intertwined and interwoven in all of that is the hypocrisy and classism where many of these same “moralists” mainly from middle and upper class Jamaica who speak out in public on airwaves and in print through sometimes hateful letters to the respective editors and or editorials have gay friends in their social circles but of course they are rich and educated so those are spared the insults, innuendo and rage that is presented otherwise.

This same anti gay lobby which includes learned professionals, Members of Parliament, legal and religious luminaries would much prefer if we kept our “filth” as MP Ernest Smith calls it to ourselves as he said in a recent interview presented on a Worldfocus report about stigma on homosexuals in Jamaica and HIV. The gay haters pontificate with great pomp and ceremony using the “majority” opinion that battyman fi dead (gays are to die) or at least we must not be seen or heard.

Yet while all this is going on the proposed Charter of Rights has been stalling in the Senate and in the house we are then told that consensual buggery is also illegal in the recently updated Sexual Offences Bill get the full PDF version here so the Charter when I last saw it speaks to the right to privacy and the whole question of the domain or threshold of ones home or owned premises is sacred is meaningless then. If I as an adult choose to have sex with another man and the state really wants to get me, whether consensual or not I can be prosecuted even by breaking down my door without a warrant I guess to lock me up on a suspicion simply because I am making love to a man. I don’t think we as gays realise how real this is. Oral sex is also covered in the new Bill as well but they have cleverly make it gender neutral along with buggery I think this is so as to avoid the criticism that gays were specially targeted in designing the law.

Why guarantee a right to privacy and then challenge it with pieces of legislation that impedes on that right so profoundly? it doesn’t make sense or am I wrong here?

Tolerance:
We seem to think tolerance means that someone gays are gonna get up and try to homosexualise everyone, as far as I am concerned you are either gay, straight, bisexual or any other variant of sexuality that identifies you it depends on if one chooses to act on it. Why can’t we all just get along? we readily watch North American and Jamaican gay themed movies, plays and listen to artists Elton John, Rupaul and George Michael who ironically Elton and George’s music is popular here played even by the homophobic of DJs on radio and in the dancehall & mixtapes sometimes yet we get worked up over homosexuals or the lifestyles.

I think we have the capacity to co exist with ease if we only try or want to. The stereotypical images of gays are often made into comedy although sometimes it teeters on homophobia with an aire of cynicism and scorn. Respecting people’s rights and freedoms from both ends must become the benchmark where we move from, all people can’t be the same and people must be free to choose as long as it does not impede greatly on another individual and the nation in general.

here is further audio commentary on the whole issue as I see them:

International Day for Tolerance 16.11.11 my concerns of our state

Also see:  Stem the culture of intolerance (Gleaner letter) from sister blog on GLBTQ Jamaica on blogger 

Peace and tolerance

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LGBTI Groups Advance Gains with Passage of Fourth Resolution at 41st OAS General Assembly

SASOD - Guyana

June 11, 2011

 

Jermaine Grant represented Guyana’s Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) at the 41st Organisation of American States (OAS) General Assembly that was held on June 5-7, 2011, in San Salvador, El Salvador. SASOD’s participation in this year’s OAS General Assembly served as the fifth year of its advocacy in the Inter-American system for human rights protection of persons on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

 

SASOD’s representative along with other members of the Coalition of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) Organisations of 21 countries in the hemisphere participated in peripheral meetings with Dr. Irene Klinger, Director of the Department of International Relations of the OAS and Vanda Pignato, First Lady of El Salvador and the country’s Secretary ofSocial Inclusion who both expressed support and appreciation of the work of the Coalition in its human rights advocacy. Further, Grant and others also participated in the Informal Dialogue with the OAS Secretary General, Jose Miguel Insulza on June 4, 2011 with other members of civil society in highlighting the human rights situation of LGBTI persons in the Americas in strengthening transparency and inclusion of human rights defenders participating in the decision-making process of the organization.

 

In the context of the General Assembly’s theme, “Citizen Security in the Americas,” and noting that the concept of security is multi-dimensional, members of the coalition recognised that any threat to the survival and livelihood of all human kind compromises citizens’ security. From this perspective, participants from the Anglophone Caribbean LGBTI civil societyarticulated that laws criminalizing same-sex intimacy serves to create an unsafe environment and perpetuate discrimination in the forms of harassment, abuse and violence of LGBTI persons.

 

Mentioned was that most member states of the OAS from Latin and North America have made notable strides in the promotion and protection of human rights on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression whilst those in theAnglophone Caribbean are retrogressing by not taking legislative steps in repealing laws criminalizing same-sex intimacy and cross-dressing along with enactment of legislation that willfully exclude rights of LGBTI persons.

 

SASOD’s representative posited that such actions by member states of the Anglophone Caribbean make them complicit in perpetuating discrimination and intolerance; thus, legitimising human rights abuses and violence that oppress LGBTI persons, compounded by an unsafe environment, which creates social vulnerabilities. These laws embody state-sanctioned homophobia which devalues human life and undermines citizens’ security.

 

In advocacy to effect human rights on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, Grant, along with other human rights defenders from the Anglophone Caribbean drafted a statement that was distributed to government delegations from the sub-region, on the human rights situation of LGBTI persons and which called for “leaders of CARICOM to guarantee the rights of all citizens… and aggressively address the scourge of homophobia that undermines our collective security.” (Please see statement attached.)

 

SASOD’s participation in the 41st OAS General Assembly serves to reinforce and strengthen advocacy of previous years for human rights protection on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. Further, its participation highlights the realities and challenges of LGBTI persons in Guyana to the attention of the OAS and member states whilst urging definitive action in legal and policy changes. This year’s General Assembly approved a fourth resolution on “Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity” that encouraged member states to consider “adopting public policies against discrimination by reason of sexual orientation and gender identity,” inter alia.

 

—END—

Attachments:

1. San Salvador Communiqué of the Coalition of LGBTI Organisations of Latin America and the Caribbean

THE COALITION OF LGBTTTI ORGANIZATIONS FROM 21 LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN COUNTRIES WITNESSING THE APPROVAL
OF THE FOURTH RESOLUTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS, SEXUAL ORIENTATION AND GENDER IDENTITY
The Coalition of LGBTTTI Latin American and Caribbean organizations, formed by groups belonging to more than 20 countries expresses in this communiqué its assessment of the activities of the 41st General Assembly of the Organization of American States, which took place in San Salvador on June 5th-7th, 2011.
This Assembly adopted the fourth resolution AG/RES. 2653 (XLI-O/11) “Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity”, showing the increasing attention to our situation and the need of encouraging member states to commit to taking action to fight human rights violations against our communities. The mentioned resolution, which is the result of the advocacy of the coalition, makes progress towards the realization of an hemispheric thematic study. It also highlights the need for member states to implement public policies against discrimination of LGBTTTI people, calling on the States to investigate, record, and punish hate crimes against our population.
We are pleased for the possible reinvigoration of the negotiation process of the draft Inter American Convention against Racism and all Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance.
However, we are concerned that, on the very occasion of the Assembly, whose theme was “Citizen Security in the Americas,” the opportunity to advance in the construction of an instrument that would contribute to challenging the structural causes of violence has been lost by opening the door to the possibility of dividing the draft Convention in one main text, and one or more additional protocols (which would strengthen the idea of the existence of a hierarchy among forms of discrimination). We recognize, in any event, that advancing the discussion on racism would be in itself a fundamental achievement that would improve the quality of life for all.
With reference to the Declaration of San Salvador, we are concerned that it focuses on issues related to organized crimes and not on day-to-day security. The majority of killings, serious assaults, sexual abuses, and other crimes against the individual are the result of bias and vulnerability associated with gender violence; discrimination against afro-descendant and indigenous people; sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression; xenophobia; disability; migrants, displaced people and other vulnerable groups.
Additionally, we express our concern for the lack of visibility we suffer by the omission of any reference to specific security needs of LGBTTTI people, despite being especially affected by the consequences of violence and crimes caused by homophobia, lesbophobia and, most of all, transphobia. These concerns were raised in our intervention during the dialogue between the civil society and the heads of delegations of member states.
We report the election to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of Felipe González, Rose-Marie Belle Antoine, Tracy Robinson and Rosa Maria Ortiz. The election of Rosa Maria Ortiz and Tracy Robinson is an honor for the Coalition; women of great value for their well-known commitment and expertise in human rights, and whose candidatures the Coalition have supported vigorously through our ministries of foreign affairs.
Finally, we want to highlight a fundamental concern for civil society, related to the attempt by some member states and OAS organs to weaken the scope of work of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

About the Coalition’s activities
Beyond the resolution that has been formally adopted, the Coalition celebrates the
consolidation of its space as civil society component after four years of advocacy work within the OAS and in the region, before, during and after the General Assemblies.
In the days that preceded the 41st General Assembly, the Coalition organized a two-day parallel event in preparation for the advocacy and participation within the OAS. Our main discussion topics were:

(a) implementation of the resolution “Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity”;

(b) Interaction with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (with specific focus on thematic hearings); (c) Interaction with the Commission on Juridical and Political Affairs; (d) Advocacy in the negotiation process of the draft Convention against Racism and All Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance; (e) Advocacy with member states.
During the two days, invited participants included Irene Klinger, director of the Department of International Relations of the OAS, who highlighted the importance of the commitment of the LGBTTTI civil society in all processes of the OAS and the increasing visibility of the issue within the OAS, particularly with reference to the Hemispheric Forum.
The Coalition met the First Lady of El Salvador and Secretary for Social Inclusion Vanda Guiomar Pignato, who spoke about the need that societies make progress in regard to the inclusion and the respect for all forms of diversity and greeted the Coalition for its presence within the OAS.
Finally, Edgar Carrasco and Herbert Betancourt from UNAIDS, and Maria Tallarico from UNDP also attended the workshop.
During the informal dialogue with the Secretary General of the OAS and the civil society in San Salvador, four delegates of the LGBTTTI coalition addressed to Secretary General José Miguel Insulza their concerns regarding the undue influence of religion on states and the weakening of the principle of secularity, violence and discrimination that LGBTTTI individuals suffers within their own families, hate crimes and the need of recognition of self-perceived identity for travesti, transgender, transsexual and intersex people.
Mr. Insulza confirmed the OAS commitment to fight for recognition of the rights of LGBTTTI individuals and expressed his concern for the lack of progress of the draft Inter American Convention against Racism and all Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance, partially due to the criminalization of same-sex intimacy in several Caribbean countries. He also indicated that some countries still have official religions, statement that would suggest that official religions are an obstacle to the introduction of protective policies, as religions would be prioritized over human rights protection.
The Coalition also met Arturo Valenzuela, Assistant Secretary of State of the Government of the United States, and Paula Uribe, Senior Advisor of the Department of State of the United States, who were accompanied by a delegation from the U.S. Embassy to El Salvador; the first secretary of the Mission of Canada before the OAS Douglas Janoff and Danilo Gonzalez Ramirez, Minister Counselor of the Mission of Costa Rica before the OAS and Chair of the Working Group in charge of drafting the draft Inter American Convention against Racism and all Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance were also present at the meeting. The discussion focused on the commitment of the U.S. Department of State to support LGBTTTI human rights in the region and the progress in the discussion on the Convention.
Later on, the Coalition met Víctor Madrigal Principal Specialist of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, who explained the working plan to draft a hemispheric report on the situation of human rights of LGBTTTI people, the success of which will depend on the participation of the organizations of the region that will provide continuous information to the Commission.
The Coalition also met Lionel Veer, Ambassador for Human Rights of the Netherlands, who expressed his support and availability to strengthen civil society organizations and highlighted the need of establishing a dialogue between the ministries of foreign affairs and the IACHR.
We welcome the increasing interest for the work of the coalition that constitutes an acknowledgment of the work carried out in these years.
We thank Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, UNAIDS, UNDP, and Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights for their support to make our participation to this General Assembly possible.

UN Human Rights Resolution on Gender Identity & Sexual Orientation is adopted

Friday June 17, 2011 the United Nations voted 23 in favour 19 against and 3 abstentions to adobt its first ever human rights Resolution including gender diversity and sexual orientation.

Human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity

The Human Rights Council, Recalling the universality, interdependence, indivisibility and interrelatedness of human rights as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and consequently elaborated in other human rights instruments such as the international Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other relevant core human rights instruments;

Recalling also that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in that Declaration, 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;

Recalling further GA resolution 60/251, which states that the Human Rights Council shall be responsible for promoting universal respect for the protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction of any kind and in fair and equal manner;

Expressing grave concern at acts of violence and discrimination, in all regions of the world, committed against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

1. Requests the High Commissioner for Human Rights to commission a study to be finalised by December 2011, to document discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity, in all regions of the world, and how international human rights law can be used to end violence and related human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity;

2. Decides to convene a panel discussion during the 19th session of the Human Rights Council, informed by the facts contained in the study commissioned by High Commissioner and to have constructive, informed and transparent dialogue on the issue of discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity;

3. Decides also that the panel will also discuss the appropriate follow‐up to the
recommendations of the study commissioned by the High Commissioner;

4. Decides to remain seized with this priority issue.

Who voted:

Yes”: Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, France, Guatemala, Hungary, Japan, Mauritius, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, Thailand, UK, USA, Uruguay.

“No” : Angola, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Djibouti, Gabon, Ghana, Jordan, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Moldova, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Uganda.

Abstentions: Burkina Faso, China, Zambia

Absent: Kyrgyzstan, Libya (suspended)


Co-Sponsors of the resolution: Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Timor-Leste, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America, and Uruguay.

Earlier in this 17th session of the Human Rights Council, the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Rashida Manjoo, reported to the Council that:

“Contributory factors for risk of violence include individual aspects of women’s bodily attributes such as race, skin colour, intellectual and physical abilities, age, language skills and fluency, ethnic identity and sexual orientation.”

The report also detailed a number of violations committed against lesbian, bisexual and trans women, including cases of rape, attacks and murders. It is therefore regrettable that a reference to “women who face sexuality-related violence” was removed from the final version of another resolution focused on the elimination of violence against women during the same session.

“Despite this inconsistency, we trust the UN resolution on sexual orientation and gender identity will facilitate the integration of the full range of sexual rights throughout the work of the UN.”, said Meghan Doherty, of the Sexual Rights Initiative.

A powerful civil society statement was delivered at the end of the session, welcoming the resolution and affirming civil society’s commitment to continuing to engage with the United Nations with a view to ensuring that all persons are treated as free and equal in dignity and rights, including on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.

“Now, our work is just beginning”, said Kim Vance of ARC International. “We look forward to the High Commissioner’s report and the plenary panel next March, as well as to further dialogue with, and support from, those States which did not yet feel able to support the resolution, but which share the concern of the international community at these systemic human rights abuses.”

Great news
Peace and tolerance
H

Dominica joins 84 nations in signing UN statement defending LGBT people

Dominica joins 84 nations in signing UN statement defending LGBT people

 

Roseau (TDN)-

Lesbian gay bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT) advocates are heralding the recent signing of a pro-gay statement by 85 nations including Dominica at a recent seating of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.

gay youth

Gay youth at a recent LGBT parade in Taiwan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The signing was described in a statement released by various LGBT advocacy groups as “a stunning development for the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

The statement “express(es) concern at continued evidence in every region of acts of violence and related human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity” and “call(s) on states to take steps to end acts of violence, criminal sanctions and related human rights violations committed against individuals because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

According to the joint media release from the various groups, “ the statement enjoyed the support of the largest group of countries to date on the topic of sexual orientation, gender identity and human rights.”

It builds on a similar statement delivered by Norway at the Human Rights Council in 2006 (on behalf of 54 states) and a joint statement delivered by Argentina at the General Assembly in 2008 (on behalf of 66 states). It is clear that every time these issues are addressed there is measurable increase in state support.”

In a separate press release by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), they called the UN statement “a very significant step forward towards international consensus on LGBTI people’s rights.”

“The strength of this statement makes the defense of discrimination against lesbians, gays, bisexual, trans and intersex people on the basis of a mistaken sense of ‘tradition’ or ‘natural order’ more untenable than ever,” said the group’s co-secretary general, Renato Sabbadini. “Homophobia and transphobia are more and more acknowledged for what they truly are: the last crumbling pillars of a patriarchal order which belong with other dark pages of our past, like slavery and the Inquisition.”

The ILGA particularly singled out the signatures of Dominica, Honduras, Central African Republic, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Seychelles.

Dominica was the only Eastern Caribbean country to sign the declaration.

Several other countries however refused to sign including Nigeria along with other African countries. Nigeria’s representative spoke against the statement, claiming to speak on behalf of the council’s Africa Group.

He said the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” are undefined, talked about God, and said it takes a man and a woman to make a baby. At the end, however, he said that laws that criminalize sexual orientation should be expunged.

The nations that signed the statement are Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Central African Republic, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Micronesia, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Rwanda, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tuvalu, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela, and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

 

Motion moved in the City of Geneva for an international coalition of cities against homophobia and transphobia-voted 24.11.2010

For those of us who missed it here is the English Translation to motion that was moved following the adoption by the Municipal Council of the City of Geneva of the motion for the launching of a international coalition of cities against homophobia and transphobia, this group aims at gathering informal support for this initiative.

For an International Coalition of Cities against Homophobia and Transphobia

(Unofficial translation)

 

Motion of 3rd November 2010 of Mr. Yves de Matteis, Gérard Deshusses, Jean-Charles Lathion, Salvatore Vitanza, Simon Brandt, Alexandre Chevalier, Gary Bennaim, Pascal Rubeli, Ms. Ariane Arlotti, Maria Pérez, Salika Wenger, Nicole Valiquer Grecuccio, Sarah Klopmann, Anne Moratti Jung, Anne Carron-Cescato,Véronique Latella et Chantal Perret-Gentil

Considering:

– the fact that more than 76 countries punish homosexuality with emprisonment of several years;– that seven countries punish homosexuality with the death penalty;

– that the mention or denunciation of persecutions, stigmatisation and discrimnations based on sexual orientation or gender identity are, for the moment, nearly absent ininternational fora, including those dedicated to racism, even though the necessity to actis blatant;

– the fact that Geneva is the world capital of human rights, with, in particular, the presence on its soil of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for human rights;

– the fact that an «International Coalition of Cities agains Racisme » was already funded in Nurnberg, in Germany, under the auspices of the Unesco in 2004, coalition of which the City of Geneva is a member;

– the fact that the cities of Amsterdam and Bruxelles as well as Catalogne are already officially supporting the world federation fighting against discriminations based on sexual orientation and gender identity (ILGA – International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual,Trans and Intersex Association);

– the fact that the Municipal Council had already unanimously adopted, during its 21st January 2008 session, the resolution R-105 entitled «Homophobia: let us also fight against this form of discrimination»,

the Municipal Council invites the Administrative Council :

– to take the initiative of launching an international coalition of cities against discriminations based on sexual orientation and gender identity by contacting :

– international organisations competent in this field (for exemple ILGA);
– cities already aware of those themes (Amsterdam, Bruxelles, the Hague, Mexico, etc.)

– international specialised organisms (the Office of the United Nations HighCommissioner for human rights, UNAIDS etc.) able to give their expertise in order to contribute to the setting up of an international network on the model of the international coalition of cities against racism.

 

Human Rights Day 2010 – December 10th theme: “Human rights defenders who act to end discrimination.”

December 10th marks the 62nd anniversary of the acceptance by the UN General Assembly of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. UNHR Site

OHCHR header

The theme for Human Rights Day 10 December 2010 is human rights defenders who act to end discrimination.

Human rights defenders acting against discrimination, often at great personal risk to both themselves and their families, are being recognized and acclaimed on this day.

Human rights defenders speak out against abuse and violations including discrimination, exclusion, oppression and violence. They advocate justice and seek to protect the victims of human rights violations. They demand accountability for perpetrators and transparency in government action. In so doing, they are often putting at risk their own safety, and that of their families.

Some human rights defenders are famous, but most are not. They are active in every part of the world, working alone and in groups, in local communities, in national politics and internationally.

Human Rights Day 2010 will highlight and promote the achievements of human rights defenders and it will again emphasize the primary role Governments must play in enabling and protecting their role. The Day is also intended to inspire a new generation of defenders to speak up and take action to end discrimination in all of its forms whenever and wherever it is manifested.

The story does not end after 10 December 2010. The focus on the work of human rights defenders will continue through all of 2011.

Meanwhile at AMNESTY

Objective:
Celebrate Human Rights Day by using the proven tool of writing letters to save lives.

Each year hundreds of thousands of people across the world mark International Human Rights Day on December 10 by taking part in Amnesty International’s Write for Rights Global Write-a-thon – the world’s largest letter writing event. We write letters to demand that the rights of individuals are respected, protected and fulfilled. In doing so, we show solidarity with those suffering human rights abuses and work to bring about real change in people’s lives.

 

How to Get Involved:

It’s easy! Follow these 5 simple steps to success:

1. SIGN UP to Write for Rights! Participate as an individual, or host an event and invite friends, family, and members of your community to join the call for human rights. Check out our Write for Rights map to find an event near you.

2. SPREAD THE WORD! Tell everyone that you plan to Write for Rights by sending an email or posting on Facebook or Twitter.

3. Get your RESOURCES. Everything you need to participate in Write for Rights is now available, including case summaries, sample letters, promotional materials, and helpful tips for holding a successful Write for Rights event. If you’d like hard copies of these items or have questions, email us: writeathon@aiusa.org.

4. WRITE and MAIL your letters. (December 4-12 are the key dates, but feel free to start earlier or later.)

5. TELL US HOW IT WENT! We want to hear from you: did you meet your letter pledge goal? Do you have great ideas on how we can make next year’s Write for Rights even better? Be sure to complete the very brief online evaluation form or send us an email: writeathon@aiusa.org.

This year, we will select winners in the following categories, who will be mailed a grab bag of special Amnesty prizes:
• Best picture of a Write for Rights activity
• Most letters sent
• Largest Write for Rights event
• Most unique location of a Write for Rights activity

 

Human Rights Day 2010 – December 10th theme: “Human rights defenders who act to end discrimination.”

December 10th marks the 62nd anniversary of the acceptance by the UN General Assembly of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. UNHR Site

OHCHR header

The theme for Human Rights Day 10 December 2010 is human rights defenders who act to end discrimination.

Human rights defenders acting against discrimination, often at great personal risk to both themselves and their families, are being recognized and acclaimed on this day.

Human rights defenders speak out against abuse and violations including discrimination, exclusion, oppression and violence. They advocate justice and seek to protect the victims of human rights violations. They demand accountability for perpetrators and transparency in government action. In so doing, they are often putting at risk their own safety, and that of their families.

Some human rights defenders are famous, but most are not. They are active in every part of the world, working alone and in groups, in local communities, in national politics and internationally.

Human Rights Day 2010 will highlight and promote the achievements of human rights defenders and it will again emphasize the primary role Governments must play in enabling and protecting their role. The Day is also intended to inspire a new generation of defenders to speak up and take action to end discrimination in all of its forms whenever and wherever it is manifested.

The story does not end after 10 December 2010. The focus on the work of human rights defenders will continue through all of 2011.

Meanwhile from AMNESTY

 

Objective:
Celebrate Human Rights Day by using the proven tool of writing letters to save lives.

Each year hundreds of thousands of people across the world mark International Human Rights Day on December 10 by taking part in Amnesty International’s Write for Rights Global Write-a-thon – the world’s largest letter writing event. We write letters to demand that the rights of individuals are respected, protected and fulfilled. In doing so, we show solidarity with those suffering human rights abuses and work to bring about real change in people’s lives.

How to Get Involved:

It’s easy! Follow these 5 simple steps to success:

1. SIGN UP to Write for Rights! Participate as an individual, or host an event and invite friends, family, and members of your community to join the call for human rights. Check out our Write for Rights map to find an event near you.

2. SPREAD THE WORD! Tell everyone that you plan to Write for Rights by sending an email or posting on Facebook or Twitter.

3. Get your RESOURCES. Everything you need to participate in Write for Rights is now available, including case summaries, sample letters, promotional materials, and helpful tips for holding a successful Write for Rights event. If you’d like hard copies of these items or have questions, email us: writeathon@aiusa.org.

4. WRITE and MAIL your letters. (December 4-12 are the key dates, but feel free to start earlier or later.)

5. TELL US HOW IT WENT! We want to hear from you: did you meet your letter pledge goal? Do you have great ideas on how we can make next year’s Write for Rights even better? Be sure to complete the very brief online evaluation form or send us an email: writeathon@aiusa.org.

This year, we will select winners in the following categories, who will be mailed a grab bag of special Amnesty prizes:
• Best picture of a Write for Rights activity
• Most letters sent
• Largest Write for Rights event
• Most unique location of a Write for Rights activity

No Place for Discrimination (Trini Watch)

As we continue to pay close attention to LGBTQI issues and related matters on the sister island of Trinidad the developments there are note worthy.

Here is an interesting Editorial from the Trinidad Express Newspaper as appearing in November 8th 2010 edition.

Worth reading.

Source

Last Friday, the people of Trinidad and Tobago celebrated the lovely festival of Divali. No longer confined to the Hindu community, Divali has become both a symbol of the diversity of this country and a unifying event.

Divali demonstrates how this society has increasingly come not merely to tolerate difference, but to appreciate and welcome it. Rightly so, for it is the wide diversity of faiths, customs, histories, ethnicities and talents that has given this country its cultural richness and creativity.

There are blind spots, however, in this inclusive, enlightened outlook.

Last week, at a meeting in St Maarten of the Pan Caribbean Partnerships Against HIV and Aids, Dr Denzil Douglas, Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis, led a call for the removal of laws that discriminate against homosexuality.

These laws are not only significant in the context of HIV/Aids, which for a number of years now has been spreading faster among the heterosexual community.

This society still bears the scars of generations of legal and social discrimination and prejudice against people whose only crime was to have been born black, or Indian, or female, or to have been brought up in a faith other than certain officially approved forms of Christianity. Much of the history of this country is the story of the long, hard-fought struggle against such oppression.

When it comes to those whose sexuality differs from that of the mainstream, however, different rules apply. The Equal Opportunities Act, passed a decade ago, outlawed discrimination on the basis of gender, race, ethnicity, origin or religion. There is an anomaly, however, which cries out for correction. Parliament explicitly omitted sexual orientation: that is, the lawmakers ruled that it is not illegal to deprive a fellow citizen of his or her fundamental rights if he or she is gay.

More recently, the People’s National Movement government produced a gender policy proposing to liberalise official approaches to sexual orientation, but then withdrew these proposed changes after objections from some religious groups.

It is ironic that some of those who practise faiths which preach brotherly love and compassion should choose at times to turn their backs on this principle and exercise their beliefs selectively.

Earlier this year, however, Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa set a godly example for his fellow believers and for humanity when he condemned anti-gay legislation.

“No one,” he said, “should be excluded from our love, our compassion or our concern because of race or gender, faith or ethnicity—or because of their sexual orientation.”

Archbishop Desmond Tutu comes from a country that, like this one, learned the hard way what evils arise from the exclusion and injustice once enshrined in its laws. Such discrimination has no place in a society that aims for freedom, equality and fair treatment for all its citizens.