CariFLAGS and U&S Advocate with CSOs at the UN

As the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) convenes in Geneva CariFLAGS* and United and Strong join civil society organisations from around the world to advocate on behalf of LGBTI** people.  Kenita Placide, who heads CariFLAGS EC hub and U&S, contributed to general advocacy efforts, assisted in crating NGO statements to the 26th session of the HRC and delivered the statement on discrimination against women.

Executive Director Kenita Placide

“It’s been three years since the Human Rights Council adopted its first resolution on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity. While serious violations continue in all regions, the Council has yet to engage in a follow-up resolution,” notes CSO’s in a call to action. “At this session of the HRC we have an opportunity to build momentum and support for change.”

Placide was also part of the working team developing the sign on statement which is now being circulated and will be read during the third week of the HRC. In the joint NGO statement CSOs seek support from LGBTI organisations around the world to urge the HRC to act now to end the violence and discrimination faced by LGBTI  people around the world.

Joint NGO statement to the Council

Find and Sign it here http://arc-international.net/hrc26-joint-statement

Interactive Dialogue with the Working Group on Discrimination against Women in Law and Practice (COC Netherlands)– delivered by Kenita Placide (June 16, 2014)

We thank the Working Group on Discrimination against Women for their attention to multiple, intersecting forms of discrimination against women, including the acknowledgement that women are not a homogenous group.  Their experience varies greatly between regions, countries, socioeconomic classes and identities, including sexual identity. We would also extend this to gender identity and expression, and intersex status.

We would like to emphasis that women are vulnerable to disproportionate income distribution and socioeconomic inequalities in many parts of the world because of the multiple forms of discrimination they face, including on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or intersex status.

The MDGs have critically failed to comprehensively address lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex women’s rights in development policies and practice, including on issues of violence and discrimination.

When women are denied their sexual and reproductive rights, and LBTI women are discriminated against, they are unable to access and complete education, are denied employment opportunities and adequate health care, and are excluded from equally participating in public life.

This maintains the deeply unequal power structures that keep women and sexual and gender minorities in poverty, and prevents the realization of a just economy.

We call on States to take immediate steps to ensure that LBTI women are effectively included in their poverty reduction strategies and the Post-2015 Development Framework. States should also increase their access to formal education, quality health services, equal employment opportunities, decent treatment at work, full social benefits and guarantee other means for LBTI women to step out of poverty.

The recognition and fulfillment of the rights and needs of all groups, regardless of sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression, or intersex status is a crucial step towards sustainable development of all nations, and must thus be recognized in the Post-2015 sustainable agenda.

Finally, we call on the Working Group on Discrimination Against Women to ensure that LBTI women are systematically included in its future reports and country missions.

Statement on Post 2015

International Lesbian and  Gay Association, joined by: Canadian HIV/aids Legal Network and CariFLAGS delivered by Anna Brown (June 17, 2014)

Even as States have been engaging in the Post-2015 discussions, many continue to fail to meet their human rights obligations towards all human beings; they fail to acknowledge the devastating impact of violence, discrimination and marginalization on all women and girls; they have failed in the promotion of the right to development of Lesbian, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex women; and they have failed to recognize the importance of comprehensively addressing sexuality and bodily and life autonomy of  all people.

The High Commissioner for Human Rights has said that human rights are vitally relevant to every item on the development agenda. By failing in their human rights commitments, States are failing in their development commitments too.

The current third MDG, promoting gender equality and empowering women, has in many cases not been implemented in a way that is inclusive of all sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions and intersex status. Further, the MDGs overall did not fully appreciate our diversities as human beings nor do they take into account the multiple and  intersecting identities we each have.

We continue to see inequalities and violence against many marginalized groups even including women and girls: LBTI people, indigenous peoples, sex workers and many others. Violence and discrimination have direct impact on critical development issues such as health, education, justice and poverty. Where people are persecuted on the basis of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity or expression,or intersex status

experiences of development are compromised.

As they forge a new development agenda, States are discussing issues of equality, social equity, gender equality and women’s empowerment that will go a long way to reduce inequalities, both within and between countries. As they do so, they must address the needs of all people, and take into account all aspects of our lives: our sexual orientation, our gender identity and expression,  our intersex status, and our sexual and reproductive right and our bodily autonomy.

These are are human rights issues and they are therefore also development issues.

Could the panel please advise on how States can work better with Civil society to ensure that the rights of LBTI  women are fully integrated into the post 2015 agenda.

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Also in Geneva, on June 16, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously approved Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein of Jordan as the new High Commissioner for Human Rights***, succeeding Navi Pillay of South Africa, whose term lasts until the end of August.

“I am going to be the first High Commissioner from the Asian continent and from the Muslim and Arab worlds,” Prince Zeid said after the 193-member body approved his appointment by consensus.

*CariFLAGS (Caribbean Forum for Liberation and Acceptance of Genders and Sexualities) A network of regional LGBTI organisations

LGBTI** Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, transsexual/transgender people

**Headquartered in Geneva, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is mandated to promote and protect the enjoyment and full realization, by all people, of all rights established in the UN Charter and in international human rights laws and treaties. The mandate includes preventing human rights violations, securing respect for all human rights, promoting international cooperation to protect human rights.

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