Wednesday, June 8, 2011

OAS LGBTTTI Coalition Release-2011



THE COALITION OF LGBTTTI ORGANIZATIONS FROM 21 LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN COUNTRIES WITNESSING THE APPROVAL OF THE FOURTH RESOLUTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS, SEXUAL ORIENTATION AND GENDER IDENTITY
The Coalition of LGBTTTI Latin American and Caribbean organizations, formed by groups belonging to more than 20 countries expresses in this communiqué its assessment of the activities of the 41st General Assembly of the Organization of American States, which took place in San Salvador on June 5th-7th, 2011.
This Assembly adopted the fourth resolution AG/RES.  2653 (XLI-O/11) “Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity”, showing the increasing attention to our situation and the need of encouraging member states to commit to taking action to fight human rights violations against our communities. The mentioned resolution, which is the result of the advocacy of the coalition, makes progress towards the realization of an hemispheric thematic study. It also highlights the need for member states to implement public policies
against discrimination of LGBTTTI people, calling on the States to investigate, record, and punish hate crimes against our population.
We are pleased for the possible reinvigoration of the negotiation process of the draft Inter American Convention against Racism and all Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance. However, we are concerned that, on the very occasion of the Assembly, whose theme was “Citizen Security in the Americas,” the opportunity to advance in the construction of an instrument that would contribute to challenging the structural causes of violence has been lost by opening the door to the possibility of dividing the draft Convention in one
main text, and one or more additional protocols (which would strengthen the idea of the existence of a hierarchy among forms of discrimination). We recognize, in any event, that advancing the discussion on racism would be in itself a fundamental achievement that would improve the quality of life for all.
With reference to the Declaration of San Salvador, we are concerned that it focuses on issues related to organized crimes and not on day-to-day security. The majority of killings, serious assaults, sexual abuses, and other crimes against the individual are the result of bias and vulnerability associated with gender violence; discrimination against afro-descendant and indigenous people; sexual orientation, gender identity and gender
expression; xenophobia; disability; migrants, displaced people and other vulnerable
groups.
Additionally, we express our concern for the lack of visibility we suffer by the omission of any reference to specific security needs of LGBTTTI people, despite being especially affected by the consequences of violence and crimes caused by homophobia, lesbophobia and, most of all, transphobia. These concerns were raised in our intervention during the dialogue between the civil society and the heads of delegations of member states.
We report the election to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of Felipe González, Rose-Marie Belle Antoine, Tracy Robinson and Rosa Maria Ortiz. The election of Rosa Maria Ortiz and Tracy Robinson is an honor for the Coalition; women of great value for their well-known commitment and expertise in human rights, and whose candidatures the Coalition have supported vigorously through our ministries of foreign affairs.
Finally, we want to highlight a fundamental concern for civil society, related to the attempt by some member states and OAS organs to weaken the scope of work of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
About the Coalition’s activities.
Beyond the resolution that has been formally adopted, the Coalition celebrates the consolidation of its space as civil society component after four years of advocacy work within the OAS and in the region, before, during and after the General Assemblies.

In the days that preceded the 41st General Assembly, the Coalition organized a two-day parallel event in preparation for the advocacy and  participation within the OAS. Our main discussion topics were: (a) implementation of the resolution “Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity”; (b) Interaction with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (with specific focus on thematic hearings); (c) Interaction with the Commission on Juridical and Political Affairs; (d) Advocacy in the negotiation process of the draft Convention against Racism and All Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance; (e) Advocacy with member states.
During the two days, invited participants included  Irene Klinger, director of the Department of International Relations of the OAS, who highlighted the importance of the commitment of the LGBTTTI civil society in all processes of the OAS and the increasing visibility of the issue within the OAS, particularly with reference to the Hemispheric Forum.
The Coalition met  the First Lady of El Salvador and Secretary for Social Inclusion Vanda Guiomar Pignato, who spoke about the need that societies make progress in regard to the inclusion and the respect for all forms of diversity and greeted the Coalition for its presence within the OAS.
Finally,  Edgar Carrasco  and Herbert Betancourt from UNAIDS, and Maria Tallarico from UNDP also attended the workshop. During the informal dialogue with the Secretary General of the OAS and the civil society in San Salvador, four delegates of the LGBTTTI coalition addressed to Secretary General José
Miguel Insulza their concerns regarding the undue influence of religion on states and the weakening of the principle of secularity, violence and discrimination that LGBTTTI individuals suffers within their own families, hate crimes and  the need of recognition of self-perceived identity for travesti, transgender, transsexual and intersex people.

Mr. Insulza confirmed the OAS commitment to fight for recognition of the rights of LGBTTTI individuals and expressed his concern for the lack  of progress of the draft Inter American Convention against Racism and all Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance, partially due to the criminalization of same-sex intimacy in several Caribbean countries. He also indicated that some countries still have official religions,  statement that would suggest that official religions are an obstacle to the introduction of protective policies, as religions would be
prioritized over human rights protection.
The Coalition also met  Arturo Valenzuela, Assistant Secretary of State of  the Government of the United States, and Paula Uribe, Senior Advisor of the Department of State of the United States, who were accompanied by a delegation from the U.S. embassy to El Salvador; the  first secretary of the Mission of Canada before the OAS Douglas Janoff and  Danilo Gonzalez Ramirez, Minister Counselor of the  Mission of
Costa Rica before the OAS and Chair of the Working Group in charge of drafting the  draft Inter American Convention against Racism and all Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance were also present at the meeting. The discussion focused on the commitment of
the U.S. Department of State to support LGBTTTI human rights in the region and the progress in the discussion on the Convention.  Later on, the Coalition met Víctor Madrigal Principal Specialist of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, who explained the working plan to draft a hemispheric
report on the situation of human rights of LGBTTTI people, the success of which will depend on the participation of the organizations of the region that will provide continuous information to the Commission.  
The Coalition also met Lionel Veer, Ambassador for Human Rights of the Netherlands, who expressed his support and availability to strengthen civil society organizations and highlighted the need of establishing a dialogue between the ministries of foreign affairs and the IACHR. We welcome the increasing interest for the work of  the coalition that constitutes an acknowledgment of the work carried out in these years.

We thank  Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, UNAIDS, UNDP, and Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights for their support to make our participation to this General Assembly possible.
The participants of the Coalition of LGBTTTI Organizations of Latin America and the Caribbean within the OAS were:
AIREANA - Camila Zabala – Paraguay, ASOCIACIÓN LIDERES EN ACCION -Germán Rincón
Perfetti - Colombia, ASPIDH ARCO IRIS – Mónica Hernández – El Salvador, COALITION
ADVOCATING FOR INCLUSION OF SEXUAL ORIENTATION – Kareem Griffith – Trinidad and
Tobago, COLECTIVA MUJER y SALUD, Julie Betances – Dominican Republic, COLECTIVO
OVEJAS NEGRAS – Valeria Rubino – Uruguay, COLECTIVO UNIDAD COLOR ROSA – Roxana
Almendarez – Honduras, COLOMBIA DIVERSA – Marcela Sánchez – Colombia, CORPORACIÓN
PROMOCIÓN DE LA MUJER, Tania Correa - Ecuador, DIVERLEX – Tamara Adrián – Venezuela,
DOMINICA CHAP – Daryl Phillip – Dominica,  FRONTE TRANS – Mario Sánchez Pérez –
Mexico, INSTITUTO RUNA – Belissa Andia – Perú, INTERNATIONAL GAY AND LESBIAN
HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION LAC – Marcelo Ferreyra – Argentina, J-FLAG – Jaevion Nelson
– Jamaica, AIDS FREE WORLD - Maurice Tomlinson – Jamaica, MULABI-ARGENTINA –
Fernando D’Elio – Argentina, MULABI-COSTA RICA – Natasha Jiménez – Costa Rica,
ORGANIZACIÓN DE TRANSEXUALES POR LA DIGNIDAD DE LA DIVERSIDAD – Andrés Rivera
Duarte – Chile, ORGANIZACIÓN TRANS REINAS DE LA NOCHE  – Johana Ramírez –
Guatemala, RED AFRO LGBTI - Edmilson Medeiros - Brazil, RED LATINOAMERICANA Y DEL
CARIBE DE PERSONAS TRANS - Marcela Romero- Argentina, RED NICARAGUENSE DE
ACTIVISTAS TRANS – Silvia Martínez – Nicaragua, SOCIETY AGAINST SEXUAL ORIENTATION
DISCRIMINATION- Jermaine Grant - Guyana, UNIBAM – Caleb Orozco – Belize, BARBADOS
HIV/AIDS ALLIANCE -  Emerson Emmanuel – Barbados.
As Coalition partner: Stefano Fabeni – Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human
Rights

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