WASHINGTON - March 26 - New York, March 26, 2004, The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (ILGHRC) and its global partners have mobilized an unprecedented campaign to support passage of the Resolution on Sexual Orientation and Human Rights during the 2004 United Nations Human Rights Commission session, which opened its six-week session last week in Geneva, Switzerland. Passage of the Resolution, referred to as the "Brazil Resolution" in reference to its sponsor, would constitute the strongest and broadest message to date from the United Nations in support of the human rights of lesbians and gay men.
Approximately 47 global activists representing 26 countries will be in Geneva over the next few weeks to press for passage of the Resolution. IGLHRC reports that this would be the largest organized contingent of LGBT activists to ever participate in the Human Rights Commission's session.
"The human rights of lesbians and gay men are squarely on the global agenda," said Paula Ettelbrick, IGLHRC's Executive Director. "This is a historic moment and one in which there will be nothing more compelling than for lesbian, gay and transgender people who have been the subject of so much violence, discrimination and government abuse to meet face to face with global officials who can make a difference."
IGLHRC and its partner, Human Rights Watch, are sending 4 staff members and 19 activists from countries that are members of the 53-country Commission, such as India, South Africa, Mexico, Argentina, Croatia, Honduras, Peru, Nepal and the Dominican Republic. Other coalition partners include ILGA (International Lesbian and Gay Association), Action Canada for Population and Development, and ARC International.
Though the language of the resolution is still under discussion, one of its key elements will be to recognize that non-conforming sexual orientation is a source of discrimination around the world and that freedom from such discrimination is a basic human right. The resolution calls on governments everywhere to uphold the human rights of all people, including lesbians and gay men.
According to Susana Fried, IGLHRC Program Director, the Resolution gives voice to the tremendous surge in LGBT organizing around the world over the last ten years. If passed, "it could be invoked to call on states to end all discrimination against people because of their sexual orientation and to uphold all of their rights, including in economic and social arenas, such as access to health, education and housing," says Fried.