Activists Address LGBTTTI Issues at OAS In Lima, Peru

On June 6, 2010, civil society representatives participated at the Dialogue with heads of country delegations at the Organization of American States (OAS). IGLHRC has been involved in the OAS LGBT Coalition in a coordinating role since 2006. The Coalition is the result of advocacy work started in 2006 by Global Rights, Mulabi - Espacio Latinoamericano de Sexualidades y Derechos and IGLHRC – LAC. The coalition initially formed and focused its work on the advocacy for the inclusion of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression in the draft Inter-American Convention against Racism and all Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance. It has since expanded its membership and now works more generally on ensuring the inclusion of these issues at the OAS.

The Coalition worked during this most recent General Assembly session of the OAS to lobby for the body to again adopt a resolution on human rights sexual orientation and gender identity. Below is a report from the Coalition describing its work and outcomes from this session. During Dialogue sessions with governments, Sexual and Reproductive Rights Interamerican Convention Campaign representative, Karen Quiroz from Brazil, and LGBT coalition representative, Sherlina Nageer, a lesbian woman from SASOD Guyana, both read declarations on behalf of the Campaign.

During the June 2010 session, advocacy work was also done to advance the adoption by the OAS of a Sexual and Reproductive Rights Convention.


The Coalition of LGBTTTI Organizations from 17 Latin American and Caribbean Countries Working Within the OAS Supports the Approval of the Third Resolution On Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

The Organization of American States (OAS), convened in its 40th General Assembly in Lima, Peru, approved today a resolution on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity in the countries of the Americas.

This resolution is the result of the advocacy and coordination activities realized in the past four years by more than 20 LGBTTTI groups of 17 countries forming a Coalition of Latin America and the Caribbean that meets every year before the General Assembly to coordinate its advocacy work within the OAS.

As usual, the coalition held a parallel event in preparation to the General Assembly to discuss strategies of involvement and advocacy within the OAS and more specifically during the 40th General Assembly. Guest participants at the event included Ambassador Santiago Canton, Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights who expressed the commitment of the body in monitoring human rights violations on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity and offered an overview of the remedies available for the LGBTTTI communities in the region; Dante Negro, director of the Department of International Law of the OAS, who offered a detailed legal analysis of the draft resolution "Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity" and highlighted the achievement obtained within the OAS on the issue; Irene Klinger, director of the Department of International Relations of the OAS, who highlighted the importance of the involvement of LGBTTTI civil society in all processes of the Organization, and particularly in its 40th General Assembly. A delegation of UNAIDS Peru also attended the meeting.

During the informal dialogue between the Secretary General of the OAS and the civil society in Lima, three delegates from the LGBTTTI coalition questioned Secretary General José Miguel Insulza on some of the most relevant human rights violations occurring in the hemisphere, such as: the existence of legislation criminalizing same sex conducts in the English-speaking Caribbean and the related human rights abuses; human rights violations committed against the travesti, transsexual and transgender communities, as well as the lack of legal recognition of gender identity, by most of the member states; the restrictive trend that Peru is taking on the issue, specifically by having repealed reference to sexual orientation and gender identity from antidiscrimination clauses of several pieces of legislation. Mr. Insulza, recently re-elected for a second mandate to lead the Organization, confirmed and reiterated his commitment and the commitment of the Organization to keep engaging with the aim of combating discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The day after, in the context of the dialogue between the heads of delegations of member states and the civil society, Sherlina Nageer, Guyanese activist and representative of the Society against Sexual Orientation Discrimination, read a statement as spokesperson of the coalition in which activists from Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Dominican Republic, Paraguay, Brazil, Ecuador, Haiti, Guyana, Jamaica, and Belize reiterated to the ministers of foreign affairs the concerns already discussed on the previous day, additionally requesting member states to amend their domestic violence legislation to include the issue of violence experienced by lesbian and trans women within their families.

The Ambassador of Brazil to the Organization of the American States focused his intervention on the fight against homophobia reminding of the initiative that president Lula of Brazil recently undertook by officially establishing May 17th as national day against homophobia. Brazil also reminded of their sponsorship of the draft resolution "Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity".

During the Assembly, the delegates from the LGBTTTI coalition had a chance to have a formal meeting with Felipe Gonzalez, current Chairperson of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to discuss human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the hemisphere.

On June 8th, during the last plenary session, the Annual Report of the Permanent Council (2009-2010), which contains the resolutions approved by the Permanent Council itself was presented. Among those, the resolution AG/RES. 2600 (XL-O/10) "Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity" was adopted. Its text ratifies what was established in the previous years by the resolutions AG/RES.2435 (XXXVIII-O/08) and AG/RES. 2504 (XXXIXO/09) entitled "Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity".

The new resolution, presented by Brazil and co-sponsored by Bolivia, not only condemns acts of violence and human rights violations perpetrated against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity, and expresses its concern for violence against human rights defenders that work on related violations, but calls on member states to take all necessary measure to combat violations on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, ensuring full access to justice to the victims, and request the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to consider the possibility of conducting a thematic study.

For the first time, the resolution includes the notion of discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, inviting the states to adopt measures against it.

As a Coalition, we celebrate the approval of this third resolution that we consider one of the tangible results of the advocacy work started in 2006 by Global Rights, Mulabi - Espacio Latinoamericano de Sexualidades y Derechos and IGLHRC – LAC, by coordinating the creation of this coalition that initially focused its work on the advocacy for the inclusion of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression in the draft Inter-American Convention against Racism and all Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance.

We thank Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, and Global Rights for their support to make sure our participation to this General Assembly.

The participants of the Coalition of LGBTTTI Organizations of Latin America and the Caribbean within the OAS were:

AIREANA - Camila Zabala – Paraguay, COLECTIVA MUJER y SALUD - Julie Betances – Dominican Republic, COLECTIVO "ANGEL AZUL"- RED LACTRANS - Jana Villaizán – Peru, COLECTIVO CONTRANATURAS – Paúl Flores Arroyo – Peru, CORPORACIÓN PROMOCIÓN DE LA MUJER - Tatiana Cordero - Ecuador, IGLHRC-LAC – Fernando D’Elio – Argentina, ASOCIACIÓN LIDERES EN ACCION - Germán Rincón Perfetti - Colombia, MOVIMENTO HOMOSEXUAL DE LIMA - Giovanny Romero Infante – Peru, MOVIMIENTO MANUELA RAMOS – Eduardo Jesus Juarez Villafuerte – Peru, ORGANIZACIÓN DE TRANSEXUALES POR LA DIGNIDAD DE LA DIVERSIDAD - Franco Fuica – Chile, PROMSEX - George Liendo – Peru, RED AFRO LGBTI - Edmilson Medeiros - Brazil, J-FLAG - Maurice Tomlinson – Jamaica, RED LACTRANS - Marcela Romero - Argentina, SENTIMOS DIVERSO – Zulma Quintero – Colombia, SEROvie – Steeve Laguerre – Haiti, SOCIETY AGAINST SEXUAL ORIENTATION DISCRIMINATION- Sherlina Nageer - Guyana, UNIBAM - Devon Gabourel – Belize.

As Coalition partner: Stefano Fabeni - Global Rights
Lima, June 8th, 2010