Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Action at the OAS 2011-Salvador

 A coalition of LGBT Caribbean Activists attempted to sensitize Caribbean Delegates about the human rights concerns in the Caribbean For the first time, as  part of a region wide strategy that builds support with the larger LAC regions as a whole, declaration on LGBTTI concerns. The Caribbean sought to distribute talking points to Caribbean leaders. Beyond that, our focus was to evaluate who CARICOM countries would vote for in Latin America for the Inter-American Human Rights Court.On top of this, a LGBT resolution that advance the political recognition that LGBT Human Rights . The third, is a resolution, that speaks to a convention on racism and intolerance. With that said this is the back ground.

1). No less than the Holy See Representative have been trying to railroad the resolution on sexual oreintation and gender identity, so we stayed and monitored the situation to ensure that there was not a vote to open the negotiations.

2). The Holy See rep representative (Vatican Rep) sought an audience with our OAS ambassador and the Minister of Foreign Affairs. I politely but firmly said after the conversation the following: " Minister did we lose the consitution to the bible yet? I fear all across the region that the bible is replacing countries constitution." To which he replied "No man!, but everybody has a right to expression!" To which I said" that  reassuring," "agreed, good to know."

3). We learnt that the Vatican was here to derail the LGBT resolution and that he was focusing on traditional catholic leaders to derail the voting process tommorrow. What the rep want is to have a footnote in the resolution to clarify gender idenity as a man and women. This would be bad because it would render trans people invisible and their plight would not be visible, so there would be no obligation at the OAS to investigate.It also important for us because it allows us to hold our government accountable in the court of public opinion and law. As wehave used one of the resolutions as evidence.

4). We learnt is that Belize cosponsored a move to split the Draft convention on Racism , discrimination and all other forms of intolerance to have a main document on Racisim and discrimination and several other protocols. This change derails 10years of negotiations. The LGBTTI coalition sees it as a tactical move to render invisible the issue of sexual oreintation and gender identity, never mind there are issues on discrimination based on health, women etc. In essence, the decision, sobotages the process, allowing CARICOM countries to abscond from their human rights committment in the region. What this means is that CARICOM cannot sign a convention that include sexual oreintation and gender identity because its binding on them. I was told that the split was an adminstrative concern, because it was stuck after 10 years, but the issue was that CARICOM made it stuck.

5). There is going to be a decision to elect two candidates for the Inter-American Commission which we love as we see them as potential friends to advance LGBT rights in the region.

6) We spoke to the Senior Advisor to the Under-secretary  of  the Western Hemisphere Auturo Valenzuela, Poala Uribe about how the state department can advance the human right of the LGBT population in the region. We spoke about the need for s Special Rappatuer that works and the need for the US government to not sobotage or undermine LGBT Rights in the Caribbean by negotiating those rights away for other US prioriies.

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