gspottt•t&t's triggersite for sogi passion & advocacy

26 November, 2009

The gayest CHOGM ever: join the conversation!


A Conversation on the Commonwealth and LGBTI Advocacy:
sharing experiences and discussing strategies

generously supported by Arcus Foundation, UWI-St. Augustine Institute of
International Relations, and individual donors

Sunday November 29th, 2009
Classroom, Institute of International Relations, University of the West Indies-St. Augustine

9:00 Setting the Stage
Stefano Fabeni, Director, LGBTI Initiative, Global Rights
Marcelo Ferreyra, Latin America and Caribbean Coordinator, IGLHRC
Zaharadeen Gambo, Program Officer, Global Rights Nigeria
Colin Robinson, Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation, Trinidad & Tobago
Timothy M Shaw, PhD, Director, Institute of International Relations, University of the West Indies-St. Augustine

10.00 Decriminalizing Same-Sex Intimacy: first India, then Trinidad & Tobago?
Colin Robinson, CAISO, Trinidad and Tobago
Siddharth Narrain, Alternative Law Forum, India
Tracy Robinson, UWI Rights Advocacy Project (U-RAP), Cave Hill, Barbados

11.30 Coffee break (provided)

11.45 Sexual Citizenship in the Commonwealth: charting a civil society agenda
Zoe Ware, Royal Commonwealth Society
Robert Carr, Commonwealth HIV & AIDS Group (CHAAG)/Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition (CVC)
Heather Collister, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative
Hassan Shire Sheikh, East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project

1.15 Lunch (provided)

2.00 Viewing of LGBTI advocates’ interview on TV6 CHOGM broadcast

4.00 Coffee break (provided)

4.15 Human Rights in the Commonwealth
David Kalete, Civil Society Liaison Manager, Commonwealth Secretariat
Clare Doube, Commonwealth Foundation & civil society consultation processes

Both days are free, catered and open to the public and the UWI community.
To reserve a meal, please RSVP to caisott@gmail.com

Monday November 30th, 2009
Conference Room, Sir Arthur Lewis Institute for Social & Economic Studies (SALISES), UWI-St. Augustine

9.00 The Commonwealth of Nations: functions, opportunities, obstacles and allies
Stefano Fabeni, Global Rights

10.30 Coffee break (provided)

10.45 Framing an LGBTI advocacy strategy
Moderators: Marcelo Ferreyra & Zaharadeen Gambo

12.00 Conclusions

12.30 Lunch (provided) & Networking

Eighty-six countries in the world currently have legislation criminalizing same-sex conduct between consenting adults a well as other non normative sexual and gender behaviors and identities; half of them are member states of the Commonwealth. For the first time at a Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, at this week’s CHOGM in Trinidad & Tobago, there is significant gay, lesbian and transgender (GLT) representation among civil society participants, and a concerted effort to highlight issues of sexual citizenship and rights. Working in partnership with gender and disabilities advocates, GLT participants have already achieved visibility for a number of key GLT concerns, and won their inclusion on the broad civil society agenda for the Commonwealth.

Read more about the event:

Criminal provisions in some countries target same sex sexual conduct, some specifically men who have sex with men, others more generally any sexual behavior considered “unnatural”. Some countries criminalize other non normative behaviors, such as cross-dressing, or utilize criminal provisions on indecency or debauchery, among others, to target individuals on their real or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. In 1994, the UN Human Rights Committee delivered a decision in the case of Toonen v. Australia arguing that criminalizing same sex sexual conduct constitutes a violation of the right to privacy and the principle of non-discrimination under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (nearly all countries with sodomy laws have signed and ratified this Covenant). Criminalizing same sex conduct has also been established as a violation of fundamental rights by regional bodies. These criminal provisions not only constitute a violation of civil and political rights in and of themselves because they violate key provisions established by international human rights law; they also have significant human rights implications, representing a serious risk for the exercise of other fundamental rights, such as the right to association, the right to assembly, and the right to expression, the right to health, the principle of non discrimination, just to mention a few. Furthermore, the mere existence of these laws is in many countries an avenue for other human rights violations by state and non-state actors.

Could the Commonwealth provide an important political space, or at least a catalyst, to advance LGBTI human rights issues, especially following the commitment to human rights, democracy and equality strengthened by the 1991 Harare Declaration and reconfirmed in 2002 by the Commonwealth by strengthening its Human Rights Unit. LGBTI civil society participation and advocacy at Commonwealth meetings can provide an important space for activists to call for member states to consider the significant risks criminalization of non normative sexual and gender identities and behaviors poses to the respect of human rights of LGBTI communities around the world.

This event, open to the Trinidad & Tobago public, offers the opportunity for activists, civil society organizations, legal and human rights professionals, and representatives of states and the Commonwealth to share experiences and discuss avenues for advocacy at the domestic and international level, particularly within the Commonwealth, to counter the serious human rights risks to local communities posed by these criminal legal provisions. Participants can: strengthen knowledge of the Commonwealth as organization, its documents and procedures; start conversations around the potential spaces for advocacy within the Commonwealth; exchange views and information on avenues for advocacy within the Commonwealth with other civil society actors, state representatives and officials of the Commonwealth of the Nations; and establish advocacy strategies for CHOGM 2011 in Sri Lanka. [Note: CHOGM 2011 will now take place in Perth Australia.]

A Commonwealth conversation on LGBTI advocacy:
sharing experiences and discussing strategies

with the generous support of Arcus Foundation, UWI-St. Augustine Institute of
International Relations, Josh Drayton, and another anonymous donor

Sunday November 29th 2009

Classroom, Institute of International Relations,
University of the West Indies-St. Augustine
9:00–5:15

9:00                Introductions

10.00              Litigating Sexual Orientation Rights: After India, where next?

Colin Robinson, CAISO, Trinidad and Tobago

Siddharth Narrain, Alternative Law Forum, India

Tracy Robinson, University of West Indies Rights Advocacy Project

11.30              Coffee break (provided)

11.45              The Commonwealth and the participation of the civil society: what space for the advancement of LGBTI rights?

13.15              Lunch (provided)

14.45              Sexual orientation, gender identity and human rights: a road map in the Commonwealth?

16.00              Coffee break (provided)

16.15              Human rights in the Commonwealth

Human Rights Desk, Commonwealth

Monday November 30th 2009

Conference Room, Sir Arthur Lewis Institute
for Social & Economic Studies (SALISES),
University of the West Indies-St. Augustine
9:00-2:00

9.00                The Commonwealth of the Nations

Stefano Fabeni

The Commonwealth: what it is? How does it function? What are the spaces for human rights work? What are the main documents on human rights issues? Who are the allies? What are the obstacles?

10.30              Coffee break (provided)

10.45              How to frame an advocacy strategy for LGBTI groups in the Commonwealth?

12.00-12.30   Conclusions

12.30              Lunch (provided) & networking

Eighty-six countries in the world currently have legislation criminalizing same-sex conduct between consenting adults a well as other non normative sexual and gender behaviors and identities. More than forty of the above mentioned countries are member states of the Commonwealth. Criminal provisions in these countries may target same sex sexual conduct, or more specifically men who have sex with men, or more generally any sexual behavior considered “unnatural”. Some countries criminalize other non normative behaviors, such as cross-dressing, or utilize criminal provisions on indecency or debauchery, among others, to target individuals on their real or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. In 1994, the U.N. Human Rights Committee delivered a decision in the case of Toonen v. Australia arguing that criminalizing same sex sexual conduct constitutes a violation of the right to privacy and the principle of non-discrimination under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (nearly all countries with sodomy laws have signed and ratified this Covenant). Criminalizing same sex conduct has also been established as a violation of fundamental rights by regional bodies. These criminal provisions not only constitute a violation of civil and political rights in and of themselves because they violate key provisions established by international human rights law; they also have significant human rights implications, representing a serious risk for the exercise of other fundamental rights, such as the right to association, the right to assembly, and the right to expression, the right to health, the principle of non discrimination, just to mention a few. Furthermore, the mere existence of these laws is in many countries an avenue for other human rights violations by state and non-state actors.

The choice of organizing this event in Trinidad and Tobago during the Commonwealth Heads of Governments Meeting has a particular meaning: the Commonwealth could in fact provide an important political space, or at least a catalyst, to advance LGBTI human rights issues, especially following the commitment to human rights, democracy and equality strengthened by the 1991 Harare Declaration and reconfirmed in 2002 by the Commonwealth by strengthening its Human Rights Unit. LGBTI civil society participation and advocacy at the Commonwealth meetings can provide an important space for activists to call for member states to consider the significant risks criminalization of non normative sexual and gender identities and behaviors poses to the respect of human rights of LGBTI communities around the world. The event will offer the opportunity for activists, civil society organizations, representatives of states and the Commonwealth to share experiences and discuss avenues for advocacy at the domestic and international level, particularly within the Commonwealth, to counter the serious human rights risks to local communities posed by these criminal legal provisions. Participants can: strengthen knowledge of the Commonwealth as organization, its documents and procedures; start conversations around the potential spaces for advocacy within the Commonwealth; exchange views and information on avenues for advocacy within the Commonwealth with other civil society actors, state representatives and officials of the Commonwealth of the Nations; and establish advocacy strategies for CHOGM) 2011 in Sri Lanka.

Advertisements

Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s