Article Title:Dear Murray ...
Author or Credit:Tony Simpson
Published on:3rd November 2011 - 10:21 am
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Story ID:10999
Text:3rd November 2011 Hon Murray McCully Minister of Foreign Affairs Floor 6 Executive Wing Dear Murray HUMAN RIGHTS AT CHOGM You may recall that you wrote to us on May 30th, in response to our query about New Zealand's role in forwarding the human rights of LGBT people at the United Nations. Your very positive and welcome letter ended with the statement, “New Zealand will continue to encourage an open dialogue on the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals”. We had naturally assumed that this role was not limited to New Zealand's work at the UN, but would apply in all relevant international fora. We were therefore surprised and disappointed that, when the issue was raised at the recent Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, New Zealand apparently did not follow this policy. It was well-known that the issue would arise at CHOGM. Decriminalisation was a unanimous recommendation of the report of the Eminent Persons Group, and was strongly supported by the Commonwealth Secretary-General at the beginning of the meeting in Perth. The British Prime Minster also repeated his warning that the UK will be taking human rights issues, including LGBT ones, into account in their aid policies. Yet when Australia raised the issue at a Foreign Minister's meeting, it was reported that only Canada supported the motion, with New Zealand remaining silent. As the Commonwealth includes still a majority of countries where same-sex relations are illegal, and also about 50% of countries throughout the world with such laws, it is surely a particularly important forum for firmly expressing the policies set out in your letter of May 30th. We are therefore somewhat bewildered as to why this opportunity of making our position clear was missed in this way, and wish to record our extreme disappointment and dismay that the support of the New Zealand Government was not forthcoming. We believe that the people of New Zealand deserve an explanation for this incident, and an assurance that New Zealand's human rights policy on LGBT people applies in the Commonwealth as well as at the United Nations. Yours sincerely Tony Simpson Chair, Rainbow Wellington. Tony Simpson - 3rd November 2011    
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