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Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network - www.aidslaw.ca

CANADA MUST ACT AGAINST INTERNATIONAL HATE LAWS TARGETING LGBTQ PEOPLE

Marking International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, dozens of organizations release 10-point plan for federal government

TORONTO, May 16, 2014- As activists around the world prepare to mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) tomorrow, May 17, more than 85 civil society organizations Can ada-wide are calling on the Government of Canada to take critical steps to defend the rights of lesbi an, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people around the world. A signed letter to the Honourable John Baird, Minister of Foreign A ffairs, details a 10-point plan of action for things Canada can do to uphold LGBTQ rights and concretely purs ue its "Dignity Agenda," a key tenet of Canada's foreign policy out lined by the minister.

Recently, there has been a marked escalation of assaults on the basic human rights of LGBTQ people in many countries. These assaults include new explicitly anti-LGBTQ laws in countries such as Russia, Nigeria, and Uganda; in other countries, such as India, laws to prohibit homosexuality have misguidedly been reinstated. More than 80 countries worldwide criminalize homosexuality, some times punishing by death consensual sex between adults.

With an establish history of supporting LG BTQ rights internationally, Canada has rightly condemned this wave of hate. However, word s without action will not produce the kind of change that is now desperately needed, as more and more LGBTQ people are being subjected to legislated persecution and violence.

"Speaking out is important, but we need a strategic and ongoing response to these blatant human rights abuses that are destroying lives the world over," said Richard Elliott, Executive Director of the Canadi an HIV/AIDS Legal Network. "T he vitriol and violence are escalating, as we've seen most recently in a report from Uganda documenting abuses since the passage of the Anti-Homosexuality Ac t. We need to work in concert with local human rights advocates in affected countries , letting political and religious leaders know that legislating and inciting hate will not be allowed to continue with impunity."

To that end, a new coalition, namely #END hatelaws, has been formed by group of human rights advocates to raise awareness of this ongoing epidemic of ha te and to press the Canadian government to do more to def end the basic human ri ghts of LGBTQ people ( www.endhatelaws.com ). This volunteer-run coalition is among the many signatories to the open letter to the Fore ign Affairs Minister.

"We call on Minister Baird and the Gove rnment of Canada to adopt this well- considered10-point plan of acti on to end hate laws," said A ndrea Houston, volunteer with #ENDhatelaws. "The action plan reflects w hat human rights defenders in countries such as Uganda and Nigeria have asked for by wa y of support from the international community. It's a very important time for Canada to take definitive action, as we will be hosting WorldPride next month and welcomi ng LGBTQ human rights advocates from around the world. Canada needs to outline how it will stand in solidarity with persecuted people around the world."

Read the open letter to the Honourable John Baird at http://bit.ly/1sA18WB .

 

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About the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network ( www.aidslaw.ca ) promotes the human rights of people living with and vulnerable to HIV/AIDS, in Canada and internationally, through research and analysis, advocacy and litigation, public education and community mobilization. The Legal Network is Canada 's leading advocacy organization working on the legal and human rights issues raised by HIV/AIDS.

Contact:
Janet Butler-McPhee
Director of Communications
Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
jbutler@aidslaw.ca
416 595-1666 ext. 228


"Reproduced with permission - Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network"

Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
www.aidslaw.ca


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