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

 

Two Years With New Methods: Crime Stats Show Increase Led By Burglary

The two years of data show an increase in the total victimisation rate of 3.1 per cent, with 12,060 more victimisations in the 2015/16 year when compared to 2014/15 year. From this increase, 72 per cent is attributable to burglaries. More>>

ALSO:

Auckland Relocation Grants: 12 Grants Paid So Far

Since the policy took effect one month ago, 12 applicants have received the non-recoverable grant, supporting 32 people. $54,508 has been paid out, covering things like moving costs, bond, rent in advance and letting fees. More>>

ALSO:

Vaccine Funding Change: HPV Vaccines For All Children

PHARMAC has today announced changes to funded vaccines, which will benefit an extra 100,000 people... The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available for all children and adults up to the age of 26 years, and boys will now be included in the HPV school vaccination programme. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Why The Opinion Polls For Key And Trump Defy Gravity

What is going on? Donald Trump got confirmed as the Republican presidential candidate at a bizarrely chaotic political convention… and promptly received an upwards bump in the polls to where he’s now rating ahead of Hillary Clinton, for only the second time this year. More>>

Sugar: Auckland Leisure Centres Axe Unhealthy Drinks

Auckland Council is to stop selling drinks that are sweetened by sugar from vending machines at its leisure centres in a bid to try to reduce obesity and type 2 diabetes... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Todd McClay’s Faulty Memory

Time and again, whenever an issue arises the initial response by government is to deny or diminish the problem – nothing to worry about here, everything’s OK, move on. Then, hang on. In line with the usual pattern, as embarrassing details emerged into daylight, the story changed. More>>

ALSO:

Labour's 'Future Of Work': Major Reform Of Careers And Apprenticeships

The next Labour Government will transform careers advice in high schools to ensure every student has a personalised career plan, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. More>>

ALSO:

State Investments Management: Treasury Likes IRD, Not Education Or Corrections

The Inland Revenue Department has scored an 'A' in the first tranche of the Treasury's investor confidence rating for state agencies that manage significant Crown investments and assets, gaining greater autonomy as a result, while the Corrections and Education ministries gained a 'C' rating. More>>

ALSO:

Govt Goal: NZ To Be "Predator Free" By 2050

Prime Minister John Key has today announced the Government has adopted the goal of New Zealand becoming Predator Free by 2050... “That’s why we have adopted this goal. Our ambition is that by 2050 every single part of New Zealand will be completely free of rats, stoats and possums." More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news