|Stephen Barris, ILGA Programmes Officer|
|Stephen Barris, ILGA Programmes Officer|
A Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Caucus gathered on occasion of 57th session of the Commission on the Status of Women drafted and delivered a statement. The caucus made a call for endorsement of the statement: 89 organisations from 48 countries signed it. Noelene Nabulivou, from Diverse Voices and Action for Equality, Fiji, read the statement on the morning of March 11 in the general discussion. Her delivery was met with applause from the audience, which included state representatives.Watch video
Statement and video facilitated by Nori Spauwen on behalf of the LBT caucus at CSW57
STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE LESBIAN, BISEXUAL AND TRANSGENDER CAUCUS
Delivered by Noelene Nabulivou,
Diverse Voices and Action for Equality, Fiji
Distinguished delegates and friends, my name is Noelene Nabulivou. I share with you a statement endorsed by 89 organisations from 48 countries, including my organisation, Diverse Voices and Action for Equality, in Fiji.
Around the world, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender people and others with diverse sexual orientation and gender identities are targets of brutal physical and psychological violence. We are subject to harassment, assault and other violence; often under the guise of so-called 'honour', 'tradition', 'nations' and 'families'.
This violence remains invisible and unaddressed and the perpetrators, whether members of families and communities, police or other state or non-state actors, too often go unpunished.
The impunity must be ended, and the invisibility must be challenged, including here at the CSW.
Even where there are laws to protect against this violence, data from various regions shows that sexism, misogyny, homophobia and transphobia continue, with patterns of abuse including brutal extrajudicial killings; sexual assault; violence in families and communities; bullying; harassment, and various other forms of violence.
But data collection is still a challenge: lesbians still often do not report violence because of distrust of the very systems and people that should protect them, and because of fear of reprisals, or threats to confidentiality.
In addition, activists are targeted for defense of rights related to sexual orientation and gender identity. Offices are raided; there is harassment of staff and volunteers; legal registration of organisations can be denied, and many defenders are arrested, suffer violations, and are otherwise harassed.
For decades, LGBT and women’s groups have been demanding that this violence and discrimination be prevented, punished and denounced. Within the UN system, there is now an undeniable trend toward addressing all forms of violence related to sexual orientation and gender identity.
As far back as 1997, the Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women noted that women who live outside heterosexuality are at heightened risk. Other UN Special Rapporteurs have also reported on acts of violence and discrimination, in all regions of the world, that are committed against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity. The Secretary General has also repeatedly raised his voice on this issue.
Over the past 20 years, six United Nations treaty bodies including the Human Rights Committee, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, The Committee Against Torture, and the Committee on the Elimination on all Forms of Violence against Women, have addressed violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation.
In 2011, the Human Rights Council approved a Resolution on Violence and Discrimination based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, which led to a detailed report from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights; there have also been General Assembly resolutions on extrajudicial executions that note these concerns, as well as regional resolutions from the Organization of American States and the Council of Europe.
It is worth noting that the Holy See has stated its concern about violence against homosexual persons in the General Assembly in 2009.
The violence and discrimination must stop. The silence of the Commission on the Status of Women and other UN multilateral tracks on these issues must also end now. Therefore, we call on all governments here at CSW57 to commit to ending all violence and discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, and to clearly reflect this commitment in the Agreed
It is time for us all, to act. Thank you Chair, and friends.
This statement is endorsed by the following 89 organisations from 48 countries: