Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Joint Statement at the Human Rights Council

Dear Readers,

See below a statement delivered at the UN Human Rights Council in interactive dialogue with the High Commissioner for Human Rights. There were representatives from 97 groups from 50 countries. Special thanks to John Fisher from ARC International.

To see the webcast of the statement as delivered, please visit: http://tinyurl.com/ycb3wcma

UN Human Rights Council, 13th session
Item 2: Interactive Dialogue with High Commissioner
Joint statement by:
International Lesbian and Gay Association (European Region), Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, Akina Mama wa Afrika, Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD), Associação Brasileira de Gays, Lésbicas e Transgêneros (ABGLT), Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID), Center for Women’s Global Leadership, COC Nederland, Frontline, International Alliance of Women, International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), LBL Denmark, Lesbian and Gay Federation in Germany (LSVD), Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights (RFSL), Unitarian Universalist Association, World Organisation against Torture (OMCT)*


Thank you Mr. President,

Madam High Commissioner, we recently had the privilege of communicating to you a letter in support of your inclusion of issues of sexual orientation and gender identity in your SMP, outlined in your Annual Report, and would like to take the opportunity of reaffirming that support in this more public setting.

I now have the honour to take the floor on behalf of 97 NGOs*, including 16 with ECOSOC accreditation. We represent human rights defenders from 50 countries in every region of the globe. While we share a commitment to equality and non-discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, we come from diverse cultures and backgrounds, and work on a broad range of issues, including the human rights of women, migrants, HIV/AIDS issues, education, health, poverty, democratic governance, and more.

We join together across our diverse regions and experiences to thank you for your commitment to promoting and protecting the human rights of all people, regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

We appreciate your recent public statements expressing deep concerns about the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda and the recent arrests in Malawi following a same-sex relationship celebration.

We also wish to express our appreciation and strong support for the explicit identification of human rights issues relating to sexual orientation in the thematic priorities of your Office, and would encourage you to also address gender identity/expression within these priorities.

These issues are of crucial and urgent human rights concern. As you will be aware, in too many countries, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people continue to face criminal sanctions, killings, violence or torture because of how we live or who we love. Lesbians are subject to so-called“curative”rape, intersex people are subject to medical abuses, transgender persons demeaned and beaten, their rights and identities unrecognised. We are denied health care or needed treatment; we routinely face discrimination in work, housing and education. In many countries, our work as human rights defenders is opposed, obstructed or banned. Our rights to peacefully gather are often denied, while attempts are made to silence our voices. Too often, the violence and abuse we endure in countries around the world goes unreported, uninvestigated and unpunished.

The opposition by some States to even recognising these as human rights violations itself highlights how important it is that violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity be explicitly addressed as thematic priorities by your Office. Inclusion of these grounds needs to be explicit, since otherwise the very States responsible for human rights violations would “interpret down” international human rights law to leave LGBTI people unprotected.

Madam High Commissioner, we know that you will face opposition from some States because of your leadership on these issues – as do all of us who work in this area. We encourage you to stay strong in the face of opposition, and know that LGBTI people around the globe look to you for leadership, take courage from your strength, and are inspired by your resolve. We commit our support to you and your Office in your work to face the challenges and ensure protection of the human rights of all people, without discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Endorsed by:

Akina Mama wa Afrika (Uganda)
ALITT (Argentina)
Alternatives-Cameroun (Cameroon)
ARC International (Canada/Switzerland)
ARCUS Foundation (USA)
Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health (APCOM) (Thailand/India)
Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD) (Thailand)
Asociación Líderes en Acción (Colombia)
Associação Brasileira de Gays, Lésbicas e Transgêneros (ABGLT) (Brazil)
Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) (Canada/South Africa/Mexico)
Bandhu Social Welfare Society (Bangladesh)
Blue Diamond Society (Nepal)
Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network (Canada)
CEDEP (Malawi)
Center for Women’s Global Leadership
Coalition of African Lesbians (South Africa)
COC Nederland (Netherlands)
Colectivo Ovejas Negras (Uruguay)
Committee for Lesbigay Rights in Burma (CLRB) (Myanmar/Burma)
Common Language (China)
Council for Global Equality (USA)
CREA (India)
Davida (Brasil)
Egale Canada (St. Lucia/Canada)
Engender (South Africa)
Euroregional Center for Public Initiative (Romania)
Fellowship of Reconciliation (USA)
Freedom and Roam Uganda (Uganda)
Frontline (Ireland)
FtM Phoenix Group (Russia)
Gay and Lesbian Activist Network for Gender Equality (GALANG) Inc. (Philippines)
GAYa NUSANTARA (Indonesia)
GayJapanNews (Japan)
Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe)
Gender DynamiX (South Africa)
Global Advocates for Trans Equality (GATE) (USA)
Global Alliance for LGBT Education (GALE) (Netherlands)
Global Justice Ministry, Metropolitan Community Churches (USA)
Global Rights (USA)
Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights (USA)
Helem (Lebanon)
Human Rights Education Institute of Burma (HREIB) (Myanmar/Burma)
Human Rights Watch (USA)
Humure (Burundi)
IGLHRC-LAC (Argentina/Paraguay)
ILGA (Mexico/Belgium)
Increse Nigeria (Nigeria)
INFORM human rights documentation centre (Sri Lanka)
Integrity Uganda (Uganda)
International Alliance of Women (Switzerland/International)
International Centre for Advocacy on Rights to Health (ICARH) (Nigeria)
International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) (Switzerland)
International Day against Homophobia (France)
International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (USA)
International Lesbian and Gay Association (European Region) (Belgium)
International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)
Intersex South Africa (South Africa)
L’Association pour la Defense de L’Homsexualite (ADEFHO) (Cameroon)
Labrys (Kyrgyzstan)
Lambda Mozambique (Mozambique)
LBL Denmark (Denmark)
Lesbian and Gay Federation in Germany (LSVD) (Germany)
Lesbian Group Kontra (Croatia)
Lesbian Organisation of Switzerland (Switzerland)
Malta Gay Rights Movement (MGRM) (Malta)
Mama Cash (Netherlands)
Movimiento Antidiscriminatorio de Liberación (Argentina)
Mulabi (Argentina)
National MSM and HIV Policy Advocacy and Human Rights Task Force (India)
Norwegian organisation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights (Norway)
Open Society Institute (USA)
Organización de Transexuales por la Dignidad de la Diversidad (OTD) (Chile)
OUT LGBT Well-being (South Africa)
Pacific Sexual Diversity Network (Tonga)
Philippine Forum on Sports, Culture, Sexuality and Human Rights (TEAM PILIPINAS) (Philippines)
Prostitutes Interest-organisation in Norway (PION) (Norway)
Protection International (Nepal/Brussels)
Red Lésbica Cattrachas (Honduras)
Right Society (Russia)
Runa Institute (Peru)
Secret De SDHH (Argentina)
Sexual Minorities Against AIDS in Nigeria (SMAAN) (Nigeria)
Skeivt Forum (Norway)
Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) (Guyana)
Solidarity and Action Against The HIV Infection in India (SAATHII) (India)
Spectrum Uganda Initiatives (Uganda)
Supporting Our Youth (Canada)
Suriname Men United (Suriname)
Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights (RFSL) (Sweden)
TARSHI (India)
TransColumbia (Colombia)
Transgender Network Netherlands (Netherlands)
UHAI: East African Sexual Health and Rights Initiative (Kenya)
Unitarian Universalist Association (USA)
Women's Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR) (Philippines)
World Organisation against Torture (OMCT) (Switzerland)
Youth Coalition for Sexual Reproductive Rights (Canada)

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