Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Commonwealth Chief Condemns Homophobia

Welcome speech at UN Human Rights Council in Geneva

London & Geneva - 29 February 2012

"We welcome Kamalesh Sharma's reiteration at the UN that homophobia is incompatible with Commonwealth values. This sends a signal from the top that victimisation on the grounds of sexuality is unacceptable. It's good to hear this commitment to LGBT human rights being voiced at the UN," said human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation.

He was commenting on today's speech by the Commonwealth Secretary General, Kamalesh Sharma, to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, where Mr Sharma spoke out against sexual orientation "discrimination or stigmatisation." See his key points below.

The Secretary General had been lobbied in advance of his UN speech by the Peter Tatchell Foundation, with a request that he include support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) human rights in his speech.

Mr Tatchell added:

"Compared to the statements on LGBT human rights made by other international leaders such as Hillary Clinton and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, Mr Sharma's criticisms of homophobia were too brief and too general. He did not rebuke the more than 40 Commonwealth countries that continue to persecute LGBT people. His speech made no mention of transphobia and the need for protection against discrimination based on gender identity," said Mr Tatchell.

Kamalesh Sharma is Secretary General of the Commonwealth association of 54 nations, most of which are former British colonies and 80% of which have retained draconian colonial-era homophobic laws that criminalise homosexuality.

"The penalties include 25 years jail in Trinidad and Tobago and 20 years plus flogging in Malaysia. Six Commonwealth countries stipulate life imprisonment: Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Pakistan, Uganda, Bangladesh and Guyana. In parts of Nigeria and Pakistan, same-sex relationships can be punishable by death.

"There are, or have been, homophobic witch-hunts in several Commonwealth countries: Nigeria, Cameroon, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Ghana.

"Commonwealth states account for more than half of the countries in the world that still outlaw same-sex relationships," noted Mr Tatchell.

The key points of Mr Sharma's speech are:

"The Commonwealth is a leader in adding to global value through this collective striving for human rights. The Affirmation introduced a shared commitment on human rights "...for all without discrimination on any grounds.....

"Discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation is an area of concern on which we have given the perspective of Commonwealth values in various fora, including in this Council.

"Our position continues to be that we oppose discrimination or stigmatisation on any grounds, including those of sexual orientation. It is for member states to address incompatibilities between Commonwealth values and mostly inherited national laws in these areas."

See the full text of Kamalesh Sharma's speech here:
http://www.thecommonwealth.org/speech/181889/34293/35178/244977/290212sghrc.htm

Following previous lobbying by Peter Tatchell and the campaign group, Justice for Gay Africans, Mr Sharma spoke out against homophobia three times in 2011.

"The Peter Tatchell Foundation is campaigning against all human rights violations in Commonwealth countries, including homophobia and transphobia. We are working to secure adherence to universal human rights by the 54 member states," added Mr Tatchell.

"Too many Commonwealth countries sanction state executions, censorship, torture, detention without trial and restrictions on free speech and the right to protest - as well as officially endorsed discrimination based on ethnicity, gender, sexuality and religion or belief.

"This has to change. Commonwealth countries have a duty to adhere to Commonwealth values and abide by the international human rights laws they have signed and pledged to uphold," he said.

We invite you to support the Peter Tatchell Foundation's Commonwealth LGBT and human rights campaign. See here: http://wwww.petertatchellfoundation.org/campaigns/common-rights

*********

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Inauguration: Donald Trump Takes The Presidential Oath

A Transcript by Lyndon Hood.

DONALD TRUMP: Let's get this over. I'm in a hurry for everyone to clap me and then I have a party and later some President stuff I would like to do. You would not believe the cuts.

SUPREME COURT CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS: This is a dignified occasion, Sir. No need to be rushing.

DT: I am no way Russian! Not that there's anything wrong with that. Putin? Great guy! And everyone on my team tells me the Russians are great to work with and what great ideas they have. The best people. Classy, too. The hotels...

SC: If we could move on. More>>

 

Gordon Campbell: On Bill English, Abroad

If David Cameron was the closest thing John Key had to a political mentor, their successors also share a whole lot in common. Theresa May and Bill English were both propelled into the top jobs as the result of unexpected resignations, and without much in the way of credible competition from their colleagues... More>>

ALSO:

Pike River: Labour Bill To Override Safety Act For Mine Entry

“Bill English has been hiding behind the legal excuse that any attempt to re-enter the mine to recover the bodies might place the mine’s owner, Solid Energy Limited, and its directors in breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015." More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Populism And Labour 2017

For many people on the centre-left, populism is a dirty word, and a shorthand for the politics of bigotry. In this country, it has tended to be equated with the angry legions of New Zealand First. Who knew they were not just a reactionary spasm, but the wave of the future? More>>

Oxfam: 30% Of NZ Owns Less Wealth Than Our Two Richest Men

The research also reveals that the richest one per cent have 20 per cent of the wealth in New Zealand, while 90 per cent of the population owns less than half of the nation’s wealth. The research forms part of a global report released to coincide with this week’s annual meeting of political and business leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. More>>

ALSO:

Hospitals: Resident Doctors Set To Strike Again

Despite discussions between the DHBs and NZRDA over safer hours for resident doctors progressing during the last week, the strike planned for next week appears set to proceed. More>>

ALSO:

Not So Super Fund: More Burning Ethical Questions For Steven Joyce

Greens: Radio New Zealand reported this morning that the New Zealand Superfund has $77 million invested in 47 coal companies that the Norwegian Government’s Pension Fund – the largest sovereign fund in the world – has blacklisted. More>>

Activism: Greenpeace Intercepts World’s Biggest Seismic Oil Ship

Greenpeace crew have made contact with the world’s biggest seismic oil ship after travelling 50 nautical miles on two rigid-hulled inflatables off the coast of Wairarapa... Greenpeace radioed the master of the Amazon Warrior to deliver an open letter of protest signed by over 60,000 New Zealanders. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: Why Tax Cuts In 2017 Would Be A (Proven) Bad Idea

Ever since the world fell prey to the mullahs of the free market in the 1980s, no amount of real world evidence has managed dispel one key tenet of their economic faith. Namely, the idea that if you cut income taxes and taxes on small business, a wave of individual enterprise and entrepreneurial energy will thus be unleashed, profits will rise and – hey bingo! – the tax cuts will soon be paying for themselves ... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
More RSS  RSS
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news