|Jennifer Josef, ILGA-ASIA|
|Jennifer Josef, ILGA-ASIA|
Following the announcement that the 2011 General Assembly (GA) of the International LGBTQ Youth and Student Organisation (IGLYO) would take place in Tel Aviv, Israel and that the GA would be hosted by Member Organisation Israeli Gay Youth (IGY), IGLYO had received a number of requests to change the location of the 2011 GA. The Board of IGLYO responded with an open letter and a statement , then moved into a process of consultation with the Member Organisations of IGLYO, a process that included a vote on the location of the GA.
The Board would like to extend a sincere thanks to everyone who has participated in the debate of this very important issue. However, even the consultation process was fraught with rumours of manipulation. The Board would like to denounce rumours spread during the consultation, some of which purported a lack of neutrality from our side. In line with IGLYO’s strong record as a safe and open space for debate and dialogue, as well as its own obligations, the Board has remained strictly neutral throughout the whole process, refraining from arguing in favour or against either side of the debate. The Board has, and will continue to, act at the behest of the Member Organisations. Anyone holding proof of the contrary is invited to come forward publicly.
Results of the survey:
Total Number of Member Organisations Eligible to Vote: 73
Total Number of Votes Cast: 44
Percentage of Member Organisations who Voted: 60%
Number of Votes Percentage
In Favour 24 55%
Against 9 20%
Abstentions 11 25%
As 55% of the votes were in favour of holding its General Assembly in Tel Aviv, the Board will respect the decision of Member Organisations and confirm that IGLYO’s 2011 General Assembly will be hosted by Israeli Gay Youth this December as previously planned. We believe this decision is in line with IGLYO’s historical position as an organisation that has always advocated for dialogue and exchange between groups in conflict. Above all, IGLYO hopes to encourage the exchange of perspectives so that all LGBTQ young people live the most complete life as possible.
Since its foundation in 1984, IGLYO has been primarily a pan-European organisation and has irreversibly committed itself to the values of human rights, democracy and the rule of law. As part of the international youth movement for human rights, IGLYO performed on this commitment by unconditionally supporting dialogue between young people, whatever their background. IGLYO never refused dealing with difficult situations, even those in those contexts that are hostile to all those seeking to uphold human rights for reasons beyond our focus of LGBTQ young people. Like other youth organisations, we have brought together young people from Jewish and Muslim backgrounds; from the Chechen Republic and Russia; from Armenia and Azerbaijan; from Kurd and Turkish backgrounds. The Member Organisations of IGLYO have affirmed that IGLYO’s approach of fostering dialogue and coming together to find ways forward despite the differences that often tear us apart is the way our organisation will proceed.
The Board of IGLYO fully recognises the daily struggle of the Palestinian people and the deep and ongoing impact that human rights abuses have on their lives. IGLYO is committed to working with young Palestinian LGBTQ people and our Members to offer as much assistance as possible in their fight to safeguard human rights. In Tel Aviv, Members, staff, and Board of IGLYO will have the option to march in solidarity to end the occupation and call for the respect of all human rights for all peoples around the world, but especially for the respect of human rights in Palestine and the Middle East.
As previously stated, the Board of IGLYO will work to create space at our future meetings where everyone will have the opportunity to share their perspective. We will also aim to draft a policy paper for the organisation on the multiple human rights abuses and discrimination experienced by Palestinian LGBTQ people, to be further developed by Member Organisations and voted upon at the General Assembly in December. The Board hopes that this policy will set a clear position for the organisation, including practical supports to LGBTQ organisations in the region and will help to mainstream the situation among Member Organisations.
Therefore, the Board of IGLYO again extends an open invitation to alQaws, Aswat & PQ for BDS to be more involved in IGLYO’s work by becoming Friends of IGLYO and engaging in dialogue with the Board and the Working Groups on Human Rights and/or Intercultural and Interreligious Dialogue. The Board remains open to explore any other proposals for achieving this aim. Furthermore Israel Gay Youth and IGLYO again extend an invitation to alQaws, Aswat & PQ for BDS to participate in the pre-General Assembly conference. We sincerely hope that this will allow us to develop a policy for the organisation that is respectful of everyone’s struggles.
The IGLYO Board