Thursday, 31 March 2011
Tuesday, 29 March 2011
Sunday, 27 March 2011
Friday, 25 March 2011
- A core group of over 30 countries engaged in discussions and sought signatories from the other UN member states for the statement. In many places, United States diplomats joined diplomats from other states in these conversations.
- This statement adds new references not seen in previous LGBT statements at the UN, including welcoming attention to LGBT issues as a part of the Universal Periodic Review process, noting the increased attention to LGBT issues in regional human rights fora, encouraging the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to continue addressing LGBT issues, and calls for states to end criminal sanctions based on LGBT status.
- 20 countries joined this statement that were neither signatory to the 2006 or 2008 statements.
- The statement garnered support from every region of the world, including 21 signatories from the Western Hemisphere, 43 from Europe, 5 from Africa and 16 from the Asia/Pacific region.
- We recall the previous joint statement on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity, presented at the Human Rights Council in 2006;
- We express concern at continued evidence in every region of acts of violence and related human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity brought to the Council's attention by Special Procedure since that time, including killings, rape, torture and criminal sanctions;
- We recall the joint statement in the general Assembly on December 18, 2008 on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity, supported by States from all five regional groups, and encourage states to consider joining the statement;
- We commend the attention paid to these issues by international human rights mechanisms including relevant Special Procedures and treaty bodies and welcome continued attention to human rights issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity within the context of the Universal Periodic Review. As the United Nations Secretary General reminded us in his address to this Council at its Special Sitting of 25 January 2011, the Universal Declaration guarantees all human beings their basic rights without exception, and when individuals are attacked, abused or imprisoned because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, the international community has an obligation to respond;
- We welcome the positive developments on these issues in every region in recent years, such as the resolutions on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity adopted by consensus in each of the past three years by the General Assembly of the Organisation of American States , the initiative of the Asia-Pacific Forum on National Human Rights Institutions to integrate these issues within the work of national human rights institutions in the region, the recommendations of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, the increasing attention being paid to these issues by the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, and the many positive legislative and policy initiatives adopted by States at the national level in diverse regions;
- We note that the Human Rights Council must also play its part in accordance with its mandate to "promote universal respect for the protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without discrimination of any kind, and in a fair and equal manner" (GA 60/251, OP2);
- We acknowledge that these are sensitive issues for many, including in our own societies. We affirm the importance of respectful dialogue, and trust that there is common ground in our shared recognition that no-one should face stigmatisation, violence or abuse on any ground. In dealing with sensitive issues the Council must be guided by the principles of universality and non-discrimination;
- We encourage the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to continue to address human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity and to explore opportunities for outreach and constructive dialogue to enhance understanding and awareness of these issues within a human rights framework;
- We recognise our broader responsibility to end human rights violations against all those who are marginalised and take this opportunity to renew our commitment to addressing discrimination in all its forms;
- We call on States to take steps to end acts of violence, criminal sanctions and related human rights violations committed against individuals because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, encourage Special Procedures, treaty bodies and other stakeholders to continue to integrate these issues within their relevant mandates, and urge the Council to address these important human rights issues.
Monday, 21 March 2011
"There are dozens, if not hundreds, of charities operating in Kibera and other slums like it, with few significant results to show for their efforts.There may be slightly more sanitation facilities in the slums now, but the living conditions have become only slightly less appalling - they have not improved dramatically. And the slum continues to grow."
Saturday, 19 March 2011
PARIS SUMMIT FOR THE SUPPORT TO THE LIBYAN PEOPLE
19 March 2011
At the invitation of President of the French Republic, M. Nicolas SARKOZY, Mr. Ban Ki Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations ; Mr. José Luis Zapatero, President of the Government of the Kingdom of Spain, Mrs. Angela Merkel, Federal Chancellor of Germany ; Mr. Steven Harper, Prime Minister of Canada; Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassem, Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar ; Mr. Donald Tusk, President of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Poland ; Mr. Lars Loekke Rasmussen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Denmark ; Mr. Silvio Berlusconi, President of the Council of Ministers of the Italian Republic ; Mr. George Papandreou, Prime Minister [of the] Hellenic Republic ; Mr. Jens Stoltenberg, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Norway ; Mr. Yves Leterme, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Belgium ; Mr. David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland ; Mr. Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of the Netherlands ; Mr. Amr Moussa, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States ; Mr. Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council ; Mrs. Catherine Ashton, European Union High Representative for Foreign affairs and Security policy ; Mr. Hoshyar Mahmoud Zebari, Foreign minister of the Republic of Iraq ; Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates ; Mrs. Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State of the United States of America ; Mr. Nasser Joudeh, Foreign minister of the Kingdom of Jordan ; Mr. Taïeb FassiFihri, Foreign minister of the Kingdom of Morocco.
At the end of the summit, the following declaration was adopted:
Since 15 February this year, the Libyan people have been peacefully expressing the rejection of their leaders and their aspiration for change. In the face of these legitimate requests coming from all over the country, the Libyan regime has carried out a growing brutal crackdown, using weapons of war against his own people and perpetrating against them grave and massive violations of humanitarian law. Despite the demands which the Security Council expressed in UNSCR 1970 on 26 February, despite the condemnations of the Arab League, African Union, Organization of the Islamic Conference’s Secretary-General and European Union, as well as very many governments in the world, the Libyan regime has stepped up its violence in order to impose by force its will on that of its people.
This situation is intolerable.
We express our satisfaction after the adoption of UNSC 1973 which, inter alia,demands an immediate and complete ceasefire, authorises the taking of all necessary measures to protect civilians against attacks and establishes a no-fly zone over Libya. Finally, it strengthened and clarified the arms embargo vis-à-vis the Libyan regime and the rules applicable to the Libyan asset freeze, in particular on the National Oil Company, and travel restrictions against the Gaddafi’s regime. While contributing in differentiated way to the implementation of UNSCR 1973, we are determined to act collectively and resolutely to give full effect to these decisions.
Muammar Gaddafi and those executing his orders must immediately end the acts of violence carried out against civilians, to withdraw from all areas they have entered by force, return to their compounds, and allow full humanitarian access. We reiterate that the Security Council took the view that Libyan regime’s forces actions may amount to crimes against humanity and that, to this end, it has referred the matter to the International Criminal Court.
We are determined to take all necessary action, including military, consistent with UNSCR 1973, to ensure compliance with all its requirements. We assure the Libyan people of our determination to be at their side to help them realise their aspirations and build their future and institutions within a democratic framework.
We recall that UN Security Council resolution 1973 does not allow for any occupation of, or attempt to occupy the Libyan territory. We pay tribute to the courageous action of the Libyan National Transition Council (NTC) and all the Libyans in positions of responsibility who have courageously disassociated themselves from the Libyan regime and given the NTC their support. Our commitment is for the long term: we will not let Colonel Gaddafi and his regime go on defying the will of the international community and scorning that of his people. We will continue our aid to the Libyans so that they can rebuild their country, fully respecting Libya’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
See also here
Wednesday, 16 March 2011
Tuesday, 15 March 2011
Monday, 7 March 2011
I see the beginnings of a shift in opinion, a shift that becomes apparent when we hear respected African men and women publicly voicing moderate opinions, and calling for restraint and caution when gay people have been maliciously vituperated in the media, as in Kenya and in Uganda recently. Nobel Laureate and Professor of English, Nigeria's Wole Soyinka is among a group of eminent African academics who have openly condemned the slaying of David Kato, the Ugandan gay rights activist and proclaimed that scientific findings have cleared the fog of ignorance entrenched by religious texts regarding homosexuality. Times are changing and I am positive that this story will have a happy ending. I just hope that I am still around when that ending does come..
Sunday, 6 March 2011
"There is just as much homophobia in the African community in the UK as there is in Africa. As a result many African gay men in the UK have kept their sexuality secret."
"Being forced to live in the closet can have serious health and social consequences, not just for the individual, but for the wider African community. People who are subjected to abuse and ridicule can feel isolated (even from family members) and find it hard to cope emotionally, losing self-confidence or the ability to forge meaningful relationships.."