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Saturday 11 April 2015

Delegates call for human rights support

Posted in: Out Games News
By Daily News staff - 17th March 2011

Participants at the Out Games Human Rights Conference have just called on United Nations member states to endorse this Monday's UN Joint Statement on ending violence and human rights violations against their glbt citizens.

John Fisher
In a unanimous vote taken at this morning's plenary session of the Wellington Conference Switzerland-based Kiwi John Fisher, co-Director of ARC International, an international glbt rights organisation, voiced concern that many nations in the Asia Pacific region are not supporting the Joint Statement. Co-participants then voted to send an endorsement to the UN Human Rights bodies, glbt rights organisations and individual nations which are not yet backing the Statement.

Glbt people in at least 12 more nations will have their ability to claim equality from discrimination with 78 nations now signed onto the joint statement, up from 66 when its predecessor was put before the UN in 2008. The first Joint Statement was presented to the UN by New Zealand delegates, with 31 other countries' support.

Although the Joint Statement is not enforceable its value lies in the lgbt people of countries which endorse it being able to hold their governments to following through on what they have endorsed on the world stage. “The UN has very few enforcement abilities,” says Fisher. “It works through peer pressure, and through articulating human rights standards.”

Fisher takes heart that amongst the 78 out of 192 UN states now endorsing the Joint Statement are Tuvalu and PNG in our region – although most Pacific Island nations have declined – and several African nations such as Rwanda and the Central African Republic. And he says that the increasing numbers of nations supporting the Statement is a good indicator of the state of progress towards equality and freedom for glbt people around the world.

The statement endorsed this morning reads:

We, participants at the 2nd Asia-Pacific Outgames Human Rights Conference, joining together across our great diversity:

- affirm the right of all persons to celebrate our identities, our communities, our loves and our lives, in equality, dignity, and respect;

- endorse the Joint Statement on Ending Violence, Criminal Sanctions and related Human Rights Violations based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, to be delivered at the United Nations Human Rights Council;

- call upon all States, from the Asia-Pacific region and beyond, to support the Joint Statement and implement its principles.

2nd Asia-Pacific Outgames Human Rights Conference
Wellington, March 2011 Daily News staff - 17th March 2011

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