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Norwegian statement on sexual orientation and gender identity.

by Jimmy Leon
NGOs from around the world welcomed a landmark statement on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity, delivered last Friday at the United Nations Human Rights Council by Norway.
PRESS RELEASE
December 5, 2006

NGOs FROM AROUND THE WORLD CELEBRATE HISTORIC
UN STATEMENT ON SEXUAL ORIENTATION AND GENDER IDENTITY

NGOs from around the world welcomed a landmark statement on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity, delivered last Friday at the United Nations Human Rights Council by Norway on behalf of 54 States.

The statement condemns human rights violations directed against people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, commends the work of UN mechanisms and civil society in this area, calls on UN Special Procedures and treaty bodies to address these issues, and urges the Human Rights Council to pay due attention to human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity, including consideration at an upcoming session.

"This is the largest-ever statement delivered at the UN on sexual orientation issues, and the first ever to explicitly highlight human rights violations based on gender identity." said John Fisher, Co-Director of ARC International. "We are encouraged by the measurable increase in cross-regional support for sexual orientation and gender identity issues in recent years. The time has come to ensure that human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity receive the international scrutiny and condemnation they demand."

"Numerous Special Procedures have documented violations of the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons," said Chris Sidoti, Director of the International Service for Human Rights. "These violations include use of the death penalty, torture, criminal sanctions, police harassment, violence, rape, beatings, disappearances, denials of freedom of expression, raids and closures of NGOs, and discrimination in education, employment, health and housing. Too often in the past, these human rights abuses have passed in silence. Now, the era of invisibility is over."

Rosanna Flamer-Caldera, Co-Secretary General of the International Lesbian and Gay Association highlighted the fact that more than 460 NGOs from 69 different countries had joined together to commend Norway for its leadership and support the statement. "Activists from around the world often work on issues of sexual orientation and gender identity at risk of their jobs, their freedom, even their lives. The Norwegian statement has united States and NGOs from around the world to send a clear message that human rights violations directed against our communities can no longer be ignored."

Earlier this year, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour in a keynote speech to an International Conference on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights noted that "violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons is frequently unreported, undocumented and goes ultimately unpunished. ... This shameful silence is the ultimate rejection of the fundamental principle of universality of rights. ... Excluding LGBT individuals from these protections clearly violates international human rights law as well as the common standards of humanity that define us all."

As the coordinator for African-rapport and as an educator activist for Amnesty International USA, I express my disappointment of political leaders, and all other key players who do not to accept that sex between men exists and that is relevant for AIDS prevention, care , support work, and to support HIV programs directed to MSM.

We believe that it is time to start a debate on repealing anti-gay criminal laws in UN. We are all created equal; that we are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to all human beings.

A human rights-based approach to HIV/AIDS starts from the premise that human rights abuses contribute to the spread of HIV and undermine attempts to protect people from becoming infected, and once infected, from receiving needed treatment and care. The promotion and protection of LGBT human rights must therefore be at the center of all aspects of an effective response to HIV/AIDS.

Education and information is the weapon that needs to be used to eliminate homophobia, discrimination and racism—implemented in schools, or in form of information to law-makers, adults, parents, and law-enforcement officials.

You and I know that this fight is not over. We will never waver when it comes to defending our values and fighting for what we know is right.

Human dignity has no nationality; it is inherent in all people of the world simply because they are human. I hope that we together shall not passively defend the principles stated here but that we shall fight for them with all the vigour within our hearts, seeking to advance and perpetuate our human liberty and individual dignity.




Yours truly

Jimmy Leon
Co-ordinator for African-rapport
Educator activist Amnesty International USA
http://www.freewebs.com/african-rapport



John Fisher
Co-Director, ARC International
Cell: +41-79-508-3968
john [at] arc-international.net
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