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Will Stephen Harper address gay issues in Australia?

Will Stephen Harper address gay issues in Australia?

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Activists want Canada to urge leaders to tackle criminalization of homosexuality
Canadian gays and lesbians are anxiously waiting to see whether Canada will stand with Britain, Australia and other countries to call for an end to the criminalization of homosexuality at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Perth, Australia, from Oct 28 to 30.
 
On Oct 21, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird told the House of Commons that Canada will speak out against homophobia at the event, which will include leaders from 41 countries where homosexuality is still illegal.
 
“The rights of gays and lesbians are tremendously important,” Baird said. “It is completely unacceptable that homosexuality continues to be criminalized in a majority of Commonwealth countries, and we will certainly take that issue to the summit.”
 
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who will be attending the Perth event, spoke out against a Ugandan anti-gay bill in 2009 at the Commonwealth leaders meeting in Trinidad and Tobago.
 
However, some Canadian activists are wondering if Harper will follow through this time.
 
“Is he doing that in consultation with other groups on the ground, or is he doing that in isolation?” asks Helen Kennedy, executive director of Egale Canada. “I’d like to know how and when and where he’s doing it.
 
“Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying that this is not a good thing – absolutely, but show me the meat,” Kennedy says. “What are the details attached to a Commonwealth charter? Who’s at the table? Who’s going to discuss it, what’s going to be discussed and how is it going to be implemented? There’s a ton of questions that need to be addressed. It’s not good enough to say yes, we’re going to bring it up and talk about it.”
 
NDP MP Randall Garrison also welcomes the news but is waiting to see how the government will follow through.
 
“Canada needs to take a leadership role in the Commonwealth,” Garrison says. “If the Commonwealth is going to survive, it has to be relevant."

Garrison says the Commonwealth has a questionable record when it comes to queer rights, especially considering 41 of 54 countries within the Commonwealth still criminalize homosexuality. 
 
Liberal Party interim leader Bob Rae concurs.
 
“I hope that Canada maintains a leadership position and we’re clear on the fact that the decriminalization of homosexual activity, at the very minimum, would be a basis from which to proceed, to say look, you can’t lock people up for being who they are,” Rae says.
 
A Department of Foreign Affairs spokesperson says leaders will put forward substantial proposals at the meeting, including a Commonwealth charter that would include the rights of gays and lesbians.
 
The spokesperson points to Canada’s cosponsorship of the UN Human Rights Council’s adoption of a resolution on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity earlier this year, as well as Harper’s discussion with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni at the Trinidad and Tobago Commonwealth meeting in 2009.
 
The Eminent Persons Group was launched at the 2009 meeting with the goal of enabling the Commonwealth to better cooperate on human rights issues, including the decriminalization of homosexuality in order to fight HIV/AIDS.
 
“Members of the Eminent Persons Group have already been talking about that aspect of the report, including Michael Kirby, who is a former Supreme Court judge in Australia, and he’s already made public statements. You really can’t fight HIV/AIDS, especially in Africa, unless you decriminalize homosexuality,” Garrison says.
 
“The Eminent Persons report is more broadly cast on human rights but is also very specific on the decriminalization of homosexuality,” Garrison says. “If we keep both focuses, if you like, the broad Commonwealth needs to have institutions to deal with human rights, and the specific, that we need to move on this issue. Then I’ll be quite happy.”


Commonwealth nations where homosexuality is illegal:
Antigua and Barbuda
Bangladesh
Barbados
Belize
Botswana
Brunei Darussalam
Cameroon
Dominica
The Gambia
Ghana
Grenada
Guyana
Fiji Islands
Jamaica
Kenya
Kiribati
Lesotho
Malawi
Malaysia
Mauritius
Namibia
Nauru
Nigeria
Pakistan
Papua New Guinea
Rwanda
Samoa
Seychelles
Sierra Leone
Singapore
Solomon Islands
St Kitts and Nevis
St Lucia
St Vincent and the Grenadines
Swaziland
Tonga
Trinidad and Tobago
Tuvalu
Uganda
United Republic of Tanzania
Zambia
 
Commonwealth nations where it is non-specified:
Maldives
Sri Lanka
 
Commonwealth nations where homosexuality is legal:
Australia
The Bahamas
Canada
Cyprus
India
Malta
Mozambique
New Zealand
South Africa
United Kingdom
Vanuatu
  
 
 
 
 

Comments

Christian Immorals
It is strange that in the name of morality the Christian religion has broken the very commandments they were given by God. Thou shall not kill being the most prevalent. The same goes for other religions. Religious people fail to realise that they King James version of the bible is just that: what the Church of England and the Puritans debated about and rewrote to suit them even leaving out the Roman Catholics view. The word homosexual was invented in the the 1950's yet it was written down 2000 years ago - wrong. Jesus never spoke about homosexuality being bad. Joanthan King Sauls' son made a covenant before God (marriage)to David (later to be King David). Saul was enraged because his son was giving the throne to David due to this covenant so conspired to have him killed but failed. So bisexual King David got the throne by default due to the accidental killing of Jonathan. Harper is anti gay and I beleive gay marriage was legalised to create a list much like that given by IBM to Hitler during the purification process of the Jews (IBM had most censuses of the european Nations on file.
A sign of hope
I strongly support the appointment of an independent Commonwealth Commissioner on Democracy, Rule of Law and Human Rights. --- I believe this role will enable the Commonwealth to become more proactive and constructive in protecting and strengthening core Commonwealth values. --- It's a sign of hope, at a time when I need hope.
Leaders chose not to defend LGBT
Religion overshadows the Commonwealth “The leaders chose not to make a statement in defence of gays and lesbians in the Commonwealth. In 41 Commonwealth countries, homosexuality constitutes a crime.” http://www.ottawacitizen.com/life/frustrated+sees+progress+Commonwealth/5631157/story.html
silence on urgent human rights reforms
Today it was reported that Canada has offered $600 million over 3 years for agricultural development and $15 million over 2 years for a polio eradication program. ---- As for human rights reforms, it appears many of the reps from the 36 (of 54) Commonwealth countries present at the summit have remained silent about the abuses in their countries. ---- So far the summit is struggling to know how to deal with urgent human rights reforms. --- As for Stephen Harper, reporters have noticed a look of frustration on his face, probably because he knows, as we all do, that the relevancy of the Commonwealth hangs in the balance if it cannot undo the harm done by imposing the untestable propositions of christian morality on its colonies, and if it cannot bring these countries in line with basic human rights, esp. with regards to forced marriages and homosexuality.
All Religions are Instruments
of Hate against Gays(lgbt). All religions are used as tools to create insane/mentally retarded people. I've never met anyone who is an adherent to religion who is not mentally and spiritually retarded. Not one! That includes my dear ole granny.
Inbreeding!
Donald: Inbreeding is also against nature, but that's never stopped fundamentalist Christians from reproducing (sadly!)
Religion is poison
Donald, religion is poison. LGBT people need to be free of it. It is an instrument of oppression.
Should be illegal
Homosexuality should be criminalized. Homosexuals commit crimes against God, against nature, against the Holy Bible and against the human race.
But what about...?
What proportion of those states that have decriminalised homosexuality also have comprehensive antidiscrimination laws, either same-sex marriage or civil unions, same-sex parenting reforms and transgender equality?
Criminalize the HIV poz's
...you know nudge, nudge, wink, wink that's much much better, oh sure 70+ percent in North America are MEN, no matter...criminalize, criminalize criminalize. Buffoon's!

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