Friday, June 1, 2012

LGBT Dialogue with Jorge Sanin and Chilean Ambassador

June 1st, 2012

42nd General Assembly Report with Chilean Ambassador

So this morning among 27 LGBT Activists from Latin America and Caribbean meet June 1st, 2012 in Cochabamba we spoke to Jorge Sanin, OAS representative who was very informative. He outlined  work being done and discussed the LGBT Unit at the OAS and Civil society challenges. We  learnt that with the change of government in Canada, that their seems to be anti-civil society tone. Also, we learnt that the OAS LGBT Unit has a Plan of Action. I asked that it be socialised with activists in the Caribbean. A follow-up will be done and I committed to share contacts, if needed to ensure that LGBT Caribbean activists can feed rights violation to the unit. The vision is that formal documentation can be used to help inform activists and leaders of the Caribbean and that direct communication was needed  with activist within the region. I asked about what work was being done by the LGBT Unit of the OAS with Caribbean leaders as I felt its was important support to advance rights enforcement for LGBT persons across the region. I learnt that the Unit budget was about $100,000us and that is a start in supporting LGBT work in the Americas.

One interesting question was asked by the Jamaican LGBT representation it was how could  Chile  encourage Caribbean leaders to reconsider laws that criminalize adult consenusal sexual activity. The response of the ambassador was that Chile could not interfere with other state laws. The ambassador said" that we have to be respectful of the internal affairs of the state." To us he did not answer the question, he may have not even understood the question because of translation. The ambassador infromed us that Chile is supports parallel work on checking articles on  Racism and checking one artcile on intolerance. The believe that chile have a role to place on Racism and one on intolerance protocol committee.  Uruguay, Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil and Chile have been working to support the process, but that last year, the absence of the Caribbean made it difficult to carry out the work because the committee did not have quorum. This year, they are working with a committee, made up of mainly South American countries to drive the work of shaping the draft convention on Racism and the protocol on intolerance.

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