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

Gordon Campbell:
On The Inadequate Response To Sexual Violence Prevention

On combatting sexual violence, the government has finally begun to undo some of the problems that were of its own making. Early in March, ACC launched the Integrated Services for Sensitive Claims scheme – a package aimed at improving the attitudes of ACC staff towards sexual violence victims, and offering them more substantive support.

Hopefully, this will help to reverse the damage done with the insensitive, punitive ACC policy put in place by the incoming Key government in 2009, which in some parts of New Zealand, saw 90 per cent of sexual violence victims being turned away by ACC. More>>

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

"To Help Families Get Ahead": April 1 Changes Kick In

Prime Minister John Key says Paid Parental Leave, the parental tax credit, the minimum wage and Superannuation will increase, while average ACC levies will fall, and more people will be helped in to home ownership... More>>

ALSO:

Climate: Ministers Exclude Emissions From ‘Environment Reporting'

The National Party Government has today revealed that the national environmental report topics for this year will, incredibly, exclude New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions, the Green Party said today. More>>

ALSO:

No Retrial: Freedom At Last For Teina Pora

The Māori Party is relieved that the Privy Council has cleared the final legal hurdle for Teina Pora who was wrongfully convicted of murder and sent to prison for 22 years. More>>

ALSO:

Germanwings Crash: Privacy Act Supports Aviation Safeguards In New Zealand

Reports that German privacy laws may have contributed to the Germanwings air crash have prompted New Zealand’s Privacy Commissioner to reassure the public that the Privacy Act is no impediment to medical practitioners notifying appropriate authorities to a pilot’s health concerns. More>>

ALSO:

Treaty: Taranaki Iwi Ngāruahine Settles Treaty Claims For $67.5mln

The settlement includes a $13.5 million payment the government made in June 2013, as well as land in the Taranaki region. The settlement also includes four culturally significant sites, the Waipakari Reserve, Te Kohinga Reserve, Te Ngutu o te Manu and Te Poho o Taranaki. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A Funeral In Asia, The Northland By-Election, And News Priorities

Supposedly, New Zealand’s destiny lies in Asia, and that was one of Foreign Minister Murray McCully’s rationales for his bungled reforms at MFAT. OK. So, if that’s the case why didn’t Prime Minister John Key attend the state funeral on Sunday of Singapore’s founding leader Lee Kuan Yew? More>>

ALSO:

Werewolf Satire: Not Flag-Waving; Flag-Drowning

The panel choosing the flag options has no visual artists at all. Now, I’ve kerned the odd ligature in my time and I know my recto from my French curve so I thought I’d offer a few suggestions before they get past their depth. More>>

ALSO:

IPCA Reports: Significant Problems In Police Custody

In releasing two reports today, the Independent Police Conduct Authority has highlighted a number of significant problems with the way in which Police deal with people who are detained in Police cells. More>>

ALSO:

Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security: Inquiry Into GCSB Pacific Allegations

The complaints follow recent public allegations about GCSB activities. The complaints, and these public allegations, raise wider questions regarding the collection, retention and sharing of communications data. More>>

ALSO:

TPPA Investment Leak: "NZ Surrender To US" On Corporates Suing Governments

Professor Jane Kelsey: ‘As anticipated, the deal gives foreign investors from the TPPA countries special rights, and the power to sue the government in private offshore tribunals for massive damages if new laws, or even court decisions, significantly affected their bottom line’. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news