CELEBRITIES LAUNCH GLOBAL CAMPAIGN TO DECRIMINALIZE HOMOSEXUALITY

Paris, November 20, 2006 — Prof. Louis-Georges Tin, president of the International Committee for IDAHO (the International Day Against Homophobia), today announced the launching of a global petition campaign for a proposed United Nations resolution in favor of the universal decriminalization of homosexuality.

“With more than 70 countries in the world still making homosexuality a crime by law — and punishable by death in twelve of them — this is a legal scandal which the petition for a proposed U.N. resolution decriminalizing homosexuality gives people a concrete way to fight,” Tin said.

The International Committee for IDAHO coordinates world-wide annual observances of the Day Against Homophobia each May 17 — and in this, its second year, IDAHO was marked by events in over 50 countries and endorsed by the European Parliament.

IDAHO today released not only the text of the petition (FULL TEXT BELOW) but also a list of hundreds of national and international organisations, well-known cultural, political, and intellectual figures who have endorsed the campaign :

— -many international NGOs such as the ILGA (International Lesbian and Gay Association), the FIDH (Fédération Internationale des Droits de l’Homme), the IUSY (International Union of Socialist Youth), the International AIDS Society, the ILGCN (International Lesbian and Gay Cultural Network) etc.

— – five Nobel Prize winners:

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Bishop Desmond Tutu, South Africa, Nobel Laureate for Literature Dario Fo, Italy, Nobel Laureate for Literature José Saramago, Portugal, Nobel Laureate for Literature Elfriede Jelinek, Austria, Nobel Laureate for Economics Amartya Sen, India;

— -from the entertainment industry, Merryl Streep, Sir Elton John, David Bowie, Edward Norton, Lily Tomlin, Victoria Abril, Cyndi Lauper, directors Bernardo Bertolucci and Mike Nichols, and Hollywood producer Kathleen Kennedy;

— – distinguished writers and intellectuals like Salman Rushdie, Gore Vidal, Sir Tom Stoppard, Edward Albee, Tony Kushner, Noam Chomsky, Russell Banks, Judith Butler, John Patrick Shanley, Martin Amis, Ian McEwan, Richard Sennett, Princeton University President Shirley Tilghman, and 10 Pulitzer Prize winners;

— – leading African-American intellectuals like Cornel West and K. Anthony Appiah;

— – political leaders, including Jacques Delors, former President of the European Commission; two former French Prime Ministers (Michel Rocard and Laurent Fabius); Michael Cashman, president of the Intergroup on gay and lesbian rights of the Europarliament ; Thomas Hammerberg of Sweden, Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe ; former European Union Commissioner for Justice and Home Affairs Antonio Vitorino of Portugal, and Mayor Bertrand Delanoe of Paris, France.

(A LONGER LIST OF ENDORSERS IS APPENDED BELOW)

The petition — entitled, “For the Universal Decriminalization of Homosexuality” and based essentially on the articles of the U.N.’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights — says, in part, “We ask the United Nations to request a a universal abolition of the so-called ‘crime of homosexuality‘, of all ‘sodomy laws‘, and laws against so-called ’unnatural acts‘ in all the countries where they still exist.”

Tin said that “the object of the petition is to insure that a decriminalization resolution will be presented at the United Nations in the months to come.”

Michael Cashman, the Member of the European Parliament (MEP) who is President of the EuroParliament’s Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Affairs, declared: “The members of the Intergroup unanimously support this initiative of the IDAHO Committee. We hope that it will go far, and that it will bring strong pressure to bear on the United Nations. We invite everyone who supports fundamental human rights to support this petition, and to ask their friends and co-workers to do so too.”

Alice Nkom, the African human rights lawyer who defended the 11 young men arrested earlier this year in Cameroon and imprisoned for homosexuality, said: “This proposed resolution gives us immense optimism, and we ardently hope that Louis-Georges Tin and the IDAHO Committee will achieve their goal. This is a fight for liberty and for human rights.”

Tin noted that, “In October this year, the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention declared that the imprisonment in Cameroon of 11 young men who’d been caught in a raid on a gay bar on charges of homosexuality was ‘an arbitrary deprivation of liberty‘ that violates the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. That’s encouraging.”

Tin added that, “It is obvious that the battle to get the U.N. to pass such a resolution is a difficult one, because there are a number of Heads of State who justify and encourage homophobic violence. Despite this, we are counting on the U.N.’s own preceding jurisprudence in this matter. In 1994, the U.N.’s Commission on Human Rights (as it was called then) condemned Tasmania for making homosexuality a crime. As a result, Tasmania had to change its legislation to make it conform to the U.N.’s position. The object of our petition is to make the U.N.’s jurisprudence in the Tasmania case applicable to all the countries which still penalize homosexuality”

The petition may be signed online via the Internet at www.idahomophobia.org. But local and country associations of all kinds, including labor unions, are urged to reprint and circulate the petition — once signatures have been collected, the completed petitions should be mailed to:

Louis-Georges Tin, President, Comité IDAHO, 26 rue de Lappe, 75011 Paris, FRANCE.

Click here for full list

Click here to sign the Petition

Text of the Petition
TO THE UNITED NATIONS :

Petition “For a universal decriminalization of homosexuality”

Considering

The Universal declaration of Human Rights

Article 1.

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2.

Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

Article 3.

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Article 12.

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Considering

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (adopted by General Assembly resolution 2200A (XXI) of 16 December 1966, entry into force 23 March 1976)

Article 17

1. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his honour and reputation.

2. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Considering

The Human Rights Committee’s decision in Toonen v. Australia (04 April 1994)

We ask the United Nations

to request a universal abolition of the so-called “crime of homosexuality”, of all “sodomy laws”, and laws against so-called “unnatural acts” in all the countries where they still exist.

Author: Stephen

Cork born and bred, proud European and Irishman. Involved in many organisations and politics. Also writes for SpirtualityIreland.org and UCC Express.

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