On Friday 11 March, Kasha Jacqueline (from the Coalition of African Lesbians and Freedom and Roam Uganda) read a powerful collective statement about the experiences of LGBTI people around the globe. A team of activists at the Council, many of whom are in Geneva to focus on sexuality and gender-related issues, drafted the statement, which calls for an end to human rights abuses based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Watch here! [Note: Will prompt download of video file.]
The statement has been endorsed by the following 28 NGOs:
Action Canada for Population and Development (Canada),AIDS-Free World (USA),ARC International (Canada / Switzerland), Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (Thailand),Association of Women's Rights in Development (Canada/USA), BAOBAB (Nigeria), CARIFLAGS (Caribbean), Center for Women's Global Leadership (USA), Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation (Trinidad and Tobago), Coalition of African Lesbians (South Africa), COC (Netherlands), CREA (India), Freedom And Roam Uganda (Uganda), Icebreakers (Uganda),INFORM (Sri Lanka), Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All Sexuals, and Gays (Jamaica),Minority Women in Action (Kenya), Queer Youth (Uganda), Red Lesbica Cattrachas (Honduras), Sexual Diversity Network (Thailand), Sexual Minorities Uganda (Uganda),Spectrum Initiative (Uganda), The Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law (Uganda), UNIBAM (Belize),UNITED and STRONG INC (St. Lucia), Women and Media Collective (Sri Lanka), Women’s Support Group (Sri Lanka), WON|ETHA (Uganda).
TEXT OF STATEMENT:
Human Rights Council
16th Session, 10 March, 2011
NGO Statement delivered under Item 3
Submitted by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
(in consultative status with ECOSOC)
Delivered by Kasha Jacqueline
Thank you Mr. President.
I speak on behalf of the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, the Coalition of African Lesbians, and human rights NGOs representing and working with lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and intersex (or LGBTI) people from many regions.
We are concerned about a range of human rights violations facing LGBTI people, (and those who don’t conform to gender binaries) in both the Global South and North.These include the death penalty, targeted arrest and arbitrary detention, torture, criminalization laws and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment as a result of state sanctions that legitimize violence, homophobia and transphobia.
State perpetrators such as police, government and law enforcement officials, and those in the judicial system, further abuse our fundamental rights and freedoms and deny our access to justice. We are stigmatized, threatened and killed both through the death penalty and in extrajudicial attacks. Daily, we face sexual and other forms of violence, harassment, extortion, forced evictions, and denial of civil, social and familial rights. We are denied access to health care and economic opportunities, and we struggle against discrimination in employment, housing, education and in migration policies.
Non state actors, who include members of families, communities, and religious and cultural institutions also violate our rights. We, lesbians and transgender people are subjected to rape, with the intention to “cure” us, as if we have a disease.
The Secretary General has said at the Human Rights Council:
"We must reject persecution of people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, who may be arrested, detained or executed for being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. I understand that sexual orientation and gender identity raise sensitive cultural issues. But cultural practice cannot justify any violation of human rights. When our fellow humans are persecuted because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, we must speak out. Human rights are human rights everywhere, for everyone.”
States and the UN system must not regard these violations as less important than and separate from other concerns. LGBTI experience is directly linked to poverty, HIV and other health issues, denial of women’s rights and children’s rights, and access to economic development. These issues cannot be separated from one another. To do so makes it impossible to effectively address any of them.
We call on states to recognize the dignity of LGBTI and gender non-conforming people through repealing laws that criminalize same sex behavior, investigating and punishing perpetrators of violations and supporting the current related Joint Statement. I close in dedicating this moment to all LGBTI people who have been victims of Human Rights violations.
Source: Sass Rogando Sasot