Wellington, 14 March 2019 – The global lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) community will be welcomed to the halls of power in New Zealand.
On Monday, 18 March, LGBTI human rights defenders and members of civil society from nearly 100 countries will attend the Parliament Buildings for a reception in their honour, hosted by the Rainbow NZ Parliamentary Network.
Hosted by three local organisations – Tīwhanawhana, RainbowYOUTH and Intersex Trust Aotearoa New Zealand - over 400 persons are gathering together in Wellington to take part in the ILGA World Conference 2019. The event, held in Oceania for the first time, will take place from 18 to 22 March, and will celebrate 40 years since the establishment of The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), the global organisation advancing the human rights of LGBTI persons.
Delegates will be welcomed to Parliament by Minister of Finance Hon Grant Robertson: the evening will be an important occasion to celebrate how civil society is working to advocate for human rights for people of all sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions, and sex characteristics, and to highlight how both lawmakers and business can be powerful allies to our communities.
Among those welcoming all conference participants will also be New Zealand Chief Human Rights Commissioner Professor Paul Hunt, MP Jan Logie, and the United Nations Independent Expert on sexual orientation and gender identity Victor Madrigal-Borloz.
“The importance of having government leaders as allies of LGBTI communities cannot be overstated,” explained Ruth Baldacchino and Helen Kennedy, Co-Secretaries General at ILGA. “Aotearoa New Zealand has shown commitment to advance equality for many times over the years: being the first country in the world in which women had the right to vote, decriminalizing same-sex relations in 1986, and becoming the first country in Oceania to make marriage equality a reality. For all these reasons, and for all the advances that will follow, we are grateful for such a warm welcome, and we wish everyone great, empowering days during the ILGA World Conference.”
“Even as we are welcome here, we ILGA mourn with you and all the people of Aotearoa and the world for the tragic and horrific loss in Christchurch last week”, added André du Plessis, Executive Director of ILGA. “We stand in solidarity, sorrow and love with the Muslim community here.”
(photo: Flickr / NZ Photo, CC BY-NC 2.0)