Sunday, April 03, 2011

States Call to End Criminal Sanctions and Violence Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity by Clara Rita A. Padilla

March 23, 2011 – “Eighty-five states issued a Joint Statement at the UN Human Rights Council yesterday, March 22, in Geneva urging states to end violence, criminal sanctions and related human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The statement was delivered by Colombia in behalf of the 85 states from all regions of the world during the General Debate (Agenda Item 8) on the follow-up and implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Program of Action,” said Attorney Clara Rita A. Padilla, Executive Director of EnGendeRights.

Atty. Padilla added, “The joint statement was supported by predominantly Catholic countries such as Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Rwanda, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Timor-Leste, Uruguay, and Venezuela.”

“The Philippines did not express support to the Joint Statement just like its failure to support the December 22, 2010 United Nations General Assembly resolution which included protection for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people from extrajudicial executions (EJE) and other unlawful killings based on sexual orientation,” continued Atty. Padilla.

Even the Holy See spoke out against violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation through its intervention stating, “A state should never punish a person, or deprive a person of the enjoyment of any human right, based just on the person’s feelings and thoughts, including sexual thoughts and feelings.” In December 2008, the Holy See publicly urged states "to do away with criminal penalties" against homosexuals and again in December 2009 with its statement before the UN stating, "The Holy See also opposes all forms of violence and unjust discrimination against homosexual persons, including discriminatory penal legislation which undermines the inherent dignity of the human person."

Atty. Padilla added, “It is a dangerous precedent for the Philippine government not to express support for such UN statements denouncing human rights violations based on one’s sexual orientation and gender identity. The Philippines should uphold universal human rights where all rights apply to everyone including if one is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. In this important statement, the Philippine government failed to stand up for the rights of LGBTs not just in the Philippines but around the world.”

“In the past years, there have been numerous reports in the Philippines of gay men being murdered and transgender people being beaten and harassed without clear investigations and active prosecution being conducted leading to the perpetuation of abuses with impunity. The Philippines must perform its obligation to prevent, investigate and prosecute human rights abuses including on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity,” Atty. Padilla concluded.


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