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NZ and Asia/Pacific have much work to do

Wed 16 Mar 2011 In: Out Games News View at Wayback View at NDHA

10.30am: The poor state of basic glbt human rights in Asian and Pacific nations and the work yet to be done in New Zealand have been strong themes of the opening speeches of the glbt Human Rights Conference which has just kicked off in Wellington. Ambassador van der Wiel Netherlands ambassador Arie van der Wiel, who has already won a medal competing on the associated 2nd Asia/Pacific Out Games, pointed out that many states in our region are not supporting this Monday's UN Joint Statement on ending violence and related human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity. He listed NZ's near neighbours Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Nauru in the Pacific, as well as India and Nepal, as nations which are not backing "a constructive opportunity to raise awareness and support in the fight against homophobia." New Zealand and Australia have both endorsed the statement. The Netherlands has been a major financial sponsor of the Human Rights Conference in part because it observes "many people still facing human rights violations because of their homosexuality, including killings, torture, rape, criminal sanctions and violence," the Ambassador said. Grant Robertson MP Wellington Central Labour MP Grant Robertson spoke of the need for New Zealand to continue its progress in respecting glbt people and to "begin the journey from tollerance to acceptance." Robertson was critical of Prime Minister John Key for stating at Auckland's Big Gay Out last month that his National government had been good to glbt people because it had not rolled back the positive initiatives of recent years." Other dignitaries attending the Conference opening included Green MP Kevin Hague and Chief Human Rights Commissioner Rosslyn Noonan, who pointed out that not a single country has realised the 2006 Yogyakarta Principles, a UN statement setting the standards for formal protections for sexual minorities. Noonan also highlighted ongoing sexual violence against lesbians and transgender. A moving moment of the opening ceremony was a minute's silence observed for those who have been killed because of their sexuality, and for those glbt people who have committed suicide. The Wellington AsiaPacific Outgames will end with a massive Revolution party at Estadio on Saturday night and GayNZ.com has two double passes to give away! To enter just email gaynz@woosh.co.nz telling us the best thing you have overheard at the games, for our Overheard at the Outgames file! GayNZ.com Daily News staff - 16th March 2011

Credit: GayNZ.com Daily News staff

First published: Wednesday, 16th March 2011 - 10:29am

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