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ILGA Team in Geneva

in ARGENTINA, 04/04/2004

Pedro Anibal Paradiso Sottile

Pedro Anibal Paradiso Sottile, 31, activist for the Comunidad Homossexual Argentina (CHA), member of the Board and Coordinator of the Legal Department. CHA has been working in Argentina for twenty years. Among its most important victories is the passing of the Civil Union Law in Buenos Aires, the first piece of law of in Latin America that grants rights to LGBT couples.

LGBT Human Rights in Argentina

The situation of LGBT human rights in Argentina is contradictory. On one hand, there has been important advances in the LGBT rights agenda. Buenos Aires, Rosario and Rio Negro all have legislation on sexual orientation nondiscrimination and guarantees for the right of being different. The Autonomous City of Buenos Aires was the first Latin American city to grant gay, lesbian, transvestite, transexual and bisexual couples rights equivalent to those granted to heterosexuals, thanks to a bill proposed by CHA. Rio Negro is to follow the same path. In December 2003 the Chamber of Representatives passed a change in the National Antidiscrimintion Law in order to incorporate sexual orientation, gender identity and its expression. It is now waiting for the Senate’s final seal of approval.
On the other hand, if Argentina does not penalize the fact of being LGBT, there is not a national legislation that fully respects LGBT citizenship and human rights. There are countless violations to our human rights. Our basic individual rights (health, life, work, education, parenthood, access to the judicial system etc.) are not respected due to our sexual orientation and gender identity. Violence and institutional persecution as well as homophobic crimes perpetrated by the police against transvestites and transexuals clearly show the situation in which we live. Most of the times the paralysis of the judicial system means exemption from punishment for those who perpetrated the abuses. Prostitution is not a crime, but virtually all over the country it is repressed and penalized by local laws.

Argentina has made public its decision to support the UN Brazil Resolution

CHA has worked for the Brazil Resolution since 2003, when the proposal was presented at the UN. On that occasion, our country had declared that it would vote against it but we managed to revert that situation so Argentina abstained.
Under the new government, in December 2003 CHA and ILGA met the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Consul Bielsa, and requested that Argentina support the Resolution and include in it the topic of gender identity. In March 2004, when Consul Bielsa was visting the Vatican, by decision of President Kirchner our country publicly declared its support to sexual orientation nondiscrimination and advanced a positive vote in the UN Human Rights Commission.
This is the first time Argentina has ever supported an international initiative in favor of LGBT human rights. In the context of postponement to 2005, CHA has asked for a meeting with the President to request that Argentina join Brazil in proposing the Resolution and lead the efforts to pass it in the 61st Session.

Comunidad Homossexual Argentina voiced its concerns in the UN

For the first time, and thanks to the Permanent Assembly of Human Rights (PARH), CHA could speak as an NGO in the UN Human Rights Commission Session. Cesar Cigliutti and Pedro Paradiso Sottile presented the situation of the organization and of the situation of human rights and LGBT individuals in the country.

The Argentinian Mission at the UN opened its doors to us

Our meeting with the Argentinian Mission in Geneva was very positive and productive. Ministry Sergio Cerda opened the way so CHA and ILGA could speak on the importance of acknowledging at the UN level the right to sexual orientation and gender identity nondescrimination. We were busy the whole time with informal meetings, and the Mission seemed to be sensitive to the situation of our community and interested in the defense and promotion of the Resolution. Thanks to its efforts we were able to speak officially with GRULAC (UN Latin American and Caribbean Group), which this year is chaired by Argentina, to request a joint support for the Resolution in 2005, highlight the importance of incorporating in it the issue of gender identity, and thank them for the consensus on the postponement that allowed keeping it in the UN agenda.

Translation: Carlos Hugo Suarez Sampaio
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