Thursday, May 14, 2009

ILGA Releases 2009 report on State-sponsored homophobia

Report available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and French

80 countries around the world consider homosexuality illegal, five of them punish homosexual acts with death

ILGA, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association publishes the
third edition of its report and map on State Sponsored Homophobia based on research by Daniel Ottosson. The report is a collection of legislation criminalising consensual sexual acts between persons of the same sex in private over the age of consent*.

With Panama decriminalising homosexuality in 2008 and Burundi for the first time in its history criminalizing homosexuality in 2009, the world now counts 80 countries with State-sponsored homophobic laws: 72 countries and 3 entities (Turkish Cyprus, Gaza and Cook Islands) punish consenting adults with imprisonment, while 5 countries (Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Yemen and parts of Nigeria and Somalia) punish them with the death penalty.

Gloria Careaga, co-secretary general of ILGA:

“Homophobia is the fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals. It is the hatred, hostility, or disapproval of homosexual people. While appalling and dangerous – and at times murderous – it makes life for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or intersex (LGBTI) persons a misery, often leading them to a devastating feeling of insecurity even within their families of origin. Homophobia is even more appalling and dangerous – and again murderous – when found in the very letter of the law. When discrimination and hatred are enshrined in the texts meant to sanction the social pact embodied by a State, a homosexual knows that there is nowhere to turn to for help. The idea of a State condoning, sanctioning and encouraging these practices, particularly when the same State proclaims to abide by the principles of the Human Rights Declaration is unacceptable.”

Renato Sabbadini, Co-secretary general of ILGA:

“The truth is that while the differences in sexual orientation and gender identity or expression are probably inborn – who would be so crazy to choose to be a lesbian in an extremely homophobic country? – the same cannot be said for homophobia, which is often the result of a certain time and context in history, a time and a context always marked by a strong inequality between men and women. Indeed, at the heart of homophobia, lesbophobia and transphobia lies the belief that men and women should not be equal, should play roles incompatible with each other and should be confined in a hierarchy where the former dominate the latter.”

In a speech given in New York December 18, 2008 on occasion of the United Nations Statement signed by 66 countries from all continents against the criminalization of homosexuality, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Navanetham Pillay, said “there are those who argue that because sexual orientation or gender identity are not explicitly mentioned in any of the conventions and covenants, there would be no protection. My response is that such a position is untenable in legal terms, which is confirmed by the evolving jurisprudence. The principle of universality admits no exception. Human rights truly are the birthright of all human beings.”

With this report, ILGA, a world-wide network of national and local groups, with more than 700 member organizations from every continent and representing 110 countries, dedicated to achieving equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people, wants to name and shame the States which at the end of the first decade of the 21st century still treat their LGBTI citizens like lesser persons, unworthy of consideration. The unworthiness rests entirely on these States, for theirs is the shame of depriving a significant number of their citizens of dignity, respect and the enjoyment of equal rights.

*Laws relating to such acts in public, with under aged persons, by force or by any other reason are not included. Nor does it include countries where such acts are legal.

ILGA is the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association. It is a world-wide network of national and local groups dedicated to achieving equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people everywhere. Founded in 1978, it now has more than 700 member organizations. Every continent and approximately 110 countries are represented. ILGA is to this day the only international non-governmental community-based association focused on fighting discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity as a global issue.


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