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Tin’s “Pride” at UN Statement on Decriminalisation of Homosexuality

Sixty-six countries support the sexuality and gender identity declaration as gays, lesbians and transgender people get “their day” at the United Nations

United States of America not among the 66 nations backing statement



This article is only available in English. For online instant translation in selected other languages, see below.




■ Louis-Georges Tin at the UN today: “This is an historical event ... For the first time ever, such a text has been read in the General Assembly of the United Nations”  Behind him is French Human Rights Minister Rama Yade.
Video grab from UN Webcast

NEW YORK, December 18, 2008  –  Louis-Georges Tin, the founder of International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO), told today of “my pride” following the reading of the “Declaration” at the General Assembly of the United Nations.

The Declaration, supported by 66 nations – one third of member states, calls for the universal decriminalisation of homosexuality.

He was speaking minutes after he sang “We Shall Overcome” during a United Nations televised high-level panel discussion on “Human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity”.

Mr. Tin, who is president of the IDAHO committee, said that it was the IDAHO committee which, in 2006, launched the campaign “For a universal decriminalisation of homosexuality”.

“We are proud of the historical Declaration that was read about this issue today, for the first time ever, in the General Assembly of the United Nations.

On the launch of the campaign over two years ago, a number of well-known personalities added their support.

Nobel prize-winners Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Elfriede Jelinek, José Saramago, Dario Fo and Amartya Sen all backed the campaign.

From show business, Merryl Streep, Victoria Abril, Cyndi Lauper, Sir Elton John and David Bowie were among those who publicly supported the move as did “intellectuals” like Judith Butler, Noam Chomski, Bernard-Henri Lévy.

Also among the backers were the International Lesbian and Gay Association, Aids International and FIDH.

Mr. Tin pointed out that, today, same-sex relationships are criminalised in more than 80 countries in the world – and gays and lesbians face the death penalty in seven of these countries.

It was on May 17 that the French government announced that they would bring in a statement within the General Assembly of the United Nations.

The text was read today in New York, and was supported by 6 countries in the world, and it clearly inscribes sexual orientation and gender identity in the context of human rights.

“This is an historical event,” Mr. Tin said.

“For the first time ever, such a text has been read in the General Assembly of the United Nations,” he pointed out.

“We have worked a lot on this issue, for us it is a great achievement, and I want to thank all the people who have worked with us since the beginning, but I also want to remind that it is a long-term battle.

“To love is not a crime” he said.

“To decriminalise homosexuality worldwide is a combat for human rights.”

For all the work she did on this issue, Mr Tin thanked French Secretary of State for Human Rights Mrs Rama Yade, who also took part in the press conference,

He gave her a copy of the Dictionary of Homophobia, a global survey of homophobia throughout the world which he published in 2003, but which was translated into English last month by the Canadian publisher, Arsenal Pulp.

Mrs Yade said she was very happy to receive the book, and it will certainly help her to fight against homophobic rhetoric in general.

During the press conference, a question was asked about the lack of support from the USA.

Mrs Yade said, in somewhat un-diplomatic terms, it was “incredible” that that the Bush administration had not supported the declaration.

And a UK representative said that he could not understand why the US had not supported the statement when it is consistently saying that human rights were important.

The high-level panel discussion” was arranged by the UN Permanent Missions of Argentina, Brazil, Croatia, France, Gabon, the Netherlands and Norway .

Canadian Olympic gold medal swimmer Mark Tewksbury, who is openly gay, makes a point during the UN panel discussion "Human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity" today.  On the left is openly gay Sunil Pant, MP, from Nepal, one of 66 countries backing the UN statement. Canada also backed the statement.
Video grab from UN Webcast

The following 66 counties are signatories to the UN Statement, according to Human Rights Watch:

Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guinea-Bissau, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Montenegro, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, United Kingdom, Uruguay, and Venezuela.



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Text of the United Nations Statement on Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (Word document)

VIDEO FROM UNITED NATIONS (Real Player required)

Special Event: High-level panel discussion on "Human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity" - organised by the Permanent Missions of Argentina, Brazil, Croatia, France, Gabon, the Netherlands and Norway.  (1 hour, 23 minutes)

Media Stakeout: Informal comments to the Media by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, H.E. Mr. Maxime Vergahen and the Secretary of State for International Affairs and Human Rights of France, H.E. Ms. Rama Yade. (16 minutes)

Miliband Backs UN Statement and Pledges Continuing Support for Gay and Transgender People Worldwide.  The United Kingdom will continue to work towards ending the discrimination of gay and bisexual men and women – and transgender people –  around the world, Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary David Miliband pledged this morning. (UK Gay News, December 18, 2008)

From an Arrest in Paris During a Gay Rights Demo, Via a French Minister, to the United NationsThe unsung hero of next week’s UN anti-homophobia resolution and his significant role.  (UK Gay News, December 3, 2008)


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Posted: 18 December 2008 at 21:30 (UK time)


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