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EASTERN EUROPE

Euro Conference Calls For End of Gay Discrimination

 

 

Report compiled from press releases from Nash Mir, Ukraine, and GayRussia.ru
 

 


 

 

More than 150 gay activists from central and eastern Europe are calling on their respective governments to outlaw discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and to implement legislation for “registered partnerships” for same-sex couples.

Attending the “Our World – Extending the Borders” conference in Kiev, Ukraine, at the weekend were delegates from 16 countries – Armenia,  Belarus,  Bosnia and Herzegovina,  Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Georgia, Kirghizia, Lithuania, Macedonia,  Moldova,  Poland, Russia, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovenia, Tajikistan and Ukraine.  Also attending the conference, organised by Nash Mir Gay and Lesbian Centre, were diplomats from the Spanish and Dutch embassies in  Kiev.

The “Joint Appeal” issued at the conclusion of the conference (see below) called for governments to not only recognise NGOs working in the LGBT arena, but also to create positive dialogue with them.

During the two-day conference, Russian professor of sexology and sociology Igor Kon talked about historical evolutions of attitudes towards gays and lesbians.  He represented a very conservative wing saying that any activist initiatives should be taken in the socio-political context of a particular country.

He said that while he remained very sceptical about gay pride initiatives in Eastern Europe he would not judge the proposed 2006 Moscow Pride until it was over.

Many activists from all over Eastern Europe gave their own examples of fight for LGBT rights, particularly the organisation of Gay Pride marches.  There were many countries where problems with Prides were experienced this year.

Head of GayRussia.ru, Nikolai Alekseev gave a strong speech appealing for “a revival of gay activism in Europe as the only tools of reaching progress in the current circumstances”.  He said that Moscow gay festival and the first conference of IDAHO in Moscow will go ahead and that “we will do all to make it a global success”.

Maxim Anmeghichean, the recently-appointed programmes director of ILGA-Europe, conducted a seminar of his organisation’s plans in Eastern Europe in the wake of the Association's annual conference in Paris that will take place at the end of October.

“It is very important that activist meet from time to time and discus their problems,” Anmeghichean said.  “We share a common heritage, but sometimes we can be quite remote from each other.”

Delegates also had an opportunity to work upon problems of development of the lesbian community, counteractions to the epidemic of HIV/AIDS spreading, using mechanisms of the European organizations for lobbying of the interests of the gay-community of the region.

The conference attracted considerable media attention, main TV channels in Ukraine reporting the event.

But this coverage failed to spark any protests.  There was no one demonstrating outside the Hotel Bratislava where the conference took place and no homophobic incidents happened during the entire Kiev event.

“The Nash Mir organisers did a great job,” commented Alekseev.  “I must admit that we did not even know that so much is being done in some countries from where we hear almost nothing in our everyday work.”

LINKS

Nash Mir website
ILGA-Europe website
GayRussia website


 

END OF CONFERENCE JOINT APPEAL

To the Governments, administrations and

Parliaments of Central and Eastern

European countries

We, the representatives of the GLBT community of Central and Eastern Europe: Armenia, Belarus, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Georgia, Kirghizia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Poland, Russia, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovenia, Tajikistan and Ukraine -

·           having gathered at the international conference in Kyiv, Ukraine under the auspices of “Our World: Expanding the Borders”;

·           having considered at plenary sessions, as well as in working groups, relevant questions in the GLBT sphere;

·           resulting from the common position in relation to the state of affairs in the GLBT sphere and coming to agreement on the necessity, at the state level, in all countries of the region to take further wide-reaching measures to consolidate the social equality of members of the GLBT community;

·           noting the role of non-governmental organizations working in the GLBT sphere in our countries in the progress in the area of the maintenance of the legal rights of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered persons;

recognize that:

1)        the formation of a democratic civil society in which the rigorous maintenance and effective protection of the legal rights of members of the GLBT community continues to be, in the countries of the region, one of the highest priorities of its representatives;

2)        the social standards in the GLBT sphere in the countries of the region are at a much lower level than in the countries of Western Europe which are our benchmark;

3)        the resurgence in the countries of the region, over the past few years, of neo-conservative tendencies, which affect political, cultural, religious and other spheres of social activity and negatively affect the state of affairs in the GLBT sphere, and are a matter of fundamental concern to GLBT organizations;

4)        gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered persons consist of a distinct social group, comprised of not less than ten percent of the adult population, regardless of the country in question, and requiring a distinct approach from governments in the protection of their legal rights and interests;

5)        despite the outlawing of discrimination on any grounds confirmed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and other international treaties in force in the countries of the region, as well as the existence of the same in the constitutions of the countries of the region, - anti-discrimination legislation in our governments being either extremely weak or completely undeveloped - ;

therefore put forward the following requests and proposals to the heads of state, administrations and parliaments of the countries of the region:

1)        the creation, under government auspices, of national committees on the question of the GLBT problematic with the aim of fast-track implementation in the countries of the region of a higher level of social standards in the GLBT sphere, as well as for the implementation of an integrated approach to the GLBT problematic at the state level;

2)        the institution of legislative norms forbidding discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in the spheres of labour relations, education, public health care and other areas of public life;

3)        the monitoring of national legislation with the aim of eliminating still-existing (in a number of countries in the region) normative legal regulations that unlawfully restrict or impact the rights of members of the GLBT community;

4)        the implementation of the institute of registered partnerships for same-sex couples who have the natural and healthy desire to legalize their relationships;

5)        the development and implementation of integrated measures (including educational and formative programs) to fight homophobia with the aim of preventing manifestations of homophobia in society as a whole, as well as in all social and governmental spheres - law enforcement agencies, educational institutions, the military, the judiciary;

6)        the provision in state information policies of directing the consolidation of societal tolerance and the good-natured, peaceful treatment of homosexual persons on the part of their fellow citizens;

7)        the maintenance, on a permanent basis, of constructive, regular dialogue with non-governmental organizations working in the GLBT sphere with the aim of formulating and implementing government policy in corresponding social areas;

8)        the cooperation with non-governmental organizations working in the GLBT sphere in particular by the provision of grants and subsidies from state and municipal budgets for the carrying out of various social programs;

9)        the systematic delegation of official representatives of the state at awareness events organized by non-governmental organizations on GLBT topics.

We are convinced that in the next few years, with our joint efforts, we will make significant progress in solving the range of problems in the GLBT sphere, which will positively reverberate in the continuing process of democratization and the building of civil society in the countries of this region.

 

Kyiv, Ukraine
October 2nd, 2005

 

Recent Articles

October 4: 

UK/Iran:  Gay Executions and Torture: Does Protesting Really Help? Yes, Says Iranian Exile.  Commentary.  We often wonder whether protests outside Embassies have any effect.  It might make us feel good as we wave a banner condemning some atrocity or another, as was the case outside the Iranian Embassy in London today when gay rights in Iran – or the complete lack of them – took centre stage.

UK/Iran:  Celebrities Join London Protest Against Iran Gay Executions and Torture.  TV soap and film actor Jeremy Sheffield, gay rap star Q Boy, comedian Scott Cappurro, Big Brother contestant Josh Rafter, out gay Labour MP Chris Bryant and human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell today joined a 50-strong protest outside the Iranian Embassy in London.

October 3: 
Iran: 
Star Support for London Demo Against Brutal Iranian Treatment of Gays A number of stars have backed tomorrow’s demonstration at the Iranian Embassy in London and the international petition organised by the monthly UK gay magazine axm

Nepal:  Call to Intervene to Help Release Five Imprisoned Gay Metis in Nepal, by Sunil Pant in Kathmandu.  Five metis were arrested last night about 10pm in Kantipath while they were on their way to the Thamel area of the Nepali capitol.

Nepal:  Three More Gay Metis Arrested and Beaten by Nepali Police.  Reports are coming in of the arrest of another three metis in Nepal. A meti is a M-to-F transgendered person.  “The police are becoming more and more brutal,” said a spokesperson at the Blue Diamond Society (BDS), Nepal’s LGBT human rights and HIV/AIDS organisation.

October 2: 
Lithuania: 
Anti-Gay Demonstration in Vilnius, by Juris
Lavrikovs.  Around 50 people gathered on the Europe Square in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius on Friday to protest against possible gay pride march and ‘spread’ of homosexuality in Lithuania.  All major Christian denominations expressed their support for this demonstration.

October 1: 
UK/Iran:   
New Iran Protest Over Treatment of Gays at London Embassy A new protest outside the Iranian Embassy in London is to be staged next week.  UK gay human rights group Outrage!, which last July broke the news to the world of the execution of two gay teenagers, has joined forces with UK gay lifestyle monthly axm to spearhead a further demonstration at the Embassy on Tuesday (October 4).

September 29: 
Iran:   
“Please do not leave us alone,” Iranian Gays Urgently Appeal to World, by Doug Ireland.  The Persian Gay and Lesbian Organization (PGLO) has appealed to North American activists for help in mobilizing support for their campaign against the vicious, lethal, anti-gay crackdown taking place in the Islamic Republic of Iran.  The anti-gay pogrom in Iran includes arrests and torture of gay people, executions of gay Iranians on trumped up charges, and a well-organized Internet entrapment campaign by Iran's religious sex police that is ensnaring gay Iranians daily.

UK:  Anti-Gay Christian Voice Director on BBC’s Question Time.  Stephen Green, the national director of the vehemently anti-gay Christian fundamentalist Christian Voice, is one of the panellists on tonight’s Question Time (BBC1 at 10.35pm), which comes live from Brighton at the end of the Labour Party conference.

 UK:  Increase in HIV Sexual Risk Behaviour in Scottish Gay Men.   The prevalence of “risky” sex in Scotland has doubled in the space of six years, while unfounded confidence in the HIV negative status of casual partners has also increased, reveals research in Sexually Transmitted Infections.

September 28: 
Nepal: 
OutRage! Condemns Police Brutality Against Gays in Nepal.  The UK LGBT human rights group OutRage! has today condemned the police assaults of gay metis last weekend in Kathmandu, Nepal (see UK Gay News report of yesterday).

Turkey:  Gay Rights Violated by Turkey, Says Human Rights Watch.  The threat by Turkish officials to close down an organization defending lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people’s rights violates basic freedoms of association and expression, Human Rights Watch said last night.

Belarus/Sweden/UK:  European Push to Help Belarus Gays.  Concerns are growing over human rights of gays in Belarus, dubbed by activists as “Europe’s last dictatorship”.

UK (England and Wales):  Your Rights Section:  Employment in the Gay Community and the Law

September 27: 
USA: 
Gay Pioneers to Be Guests of The Falls Church News-Press at HRCs Silver Anniversary Dinner.  Two of the original ‘gay pioneers’ who kicked off the modern civil rights movement for lesbians and gays with demonstrations in Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia in the mid-1960s, will be the special guests of the Falls Church News-Press, a progressive weekly newspaper in Northern Virginia suburbs of the nation's capital, at the Human Rights Campaign’s 25th Anniversary National Dinner in Washington, D.C., on Saturday (October 1).

 Nepal:  HIV Victim Beaten As Police Taunt Gays In Nepal.  A Nepalese meti afflicted with HIV, the virus that can lead to AIDS, was savagely beaten by police and detained in a Kathmandu police station for a day before being released on payment of what was effectively a bribe.

Jamaica/UK:  Buju Banton In Court Friday After Gay-Bashing Attack.  UK gay human rights group Outrage! will be paying particular attention to a trail in a Jamaican court on Friday when Mark Myrie, better known as  reggae singer Buju Banton, answers charges of assault.

September 26: 
Moldova: 
Moldova: Discrimination Against Gays, Lesbians Is Inadmissible, Says Council of Europe.  Moldova must guarantee the fundamental rights of gays and lesbians, a report from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) says.

September 25: 
UK: 
Time For Tribute Website for Gay Community To Be Noticed, by Steven Kay.  It seems natural for anyone to place a tribute into the local paper when a loved one dies.  But when Nigel Barnes, the founder of gaytributes.com tried, he was refused at every stage, all owing to one little word  “gay”.

Posted: 5 October  2005 at 15:00 (UK time)

 

 

 

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