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Glbt conference closes:" We are winning"

Sat 19 Mar 2011 In: Out Games News View at Wayback View at NDHA

10.00PM: Work towards human rights for glbt people in the Asia/Pacific region has been hard and progress slow, "but we are winning" summed up gay activist John Fisher at this afternoon's closing of the three-day long Human Rights Conference in Wellington this afternoon. The at times rowdy, cheering, emotional and colourful closing plenary was marked by a call for the needs of often isolated older glbt people to be addressed, for trans and intersex people to have more acknowledgement, and for definitions such and gay and lesbian and bi to be augmented by terms which better fit the differing sexualities and gender roles in the Pacific. Dutch Lawyer Boris Dittrich noted that Pacific Islanders, while small in number, represent twenty two United Nations member states and could make a big differentc to UN votes and declarations on Human Rights issues. The advice of gay Nepalese MP Sunil Pant to one of the Conference sessions, that glbt people should acknolwledge the problems of the past but focus on the future, was highlighted and NZ's Chief Human Rights commissioner reminded the gathering that all they are asking of their governments and fellow citizens is "a turangawaewae, a place to stand." Waiata were sung by several national groups and conference programme organiser Barry Taylor was presented with a magnificent Tongan tapa cloth. In his closing remarks Kevin Haunui, who had emerged as the event's kaumatua, officially closed the conference with the encouraging words "Kia kaha. The spirit goes on, it can never be stopped." To which Taylor replied, to much applause, "Let it be done. Let us be one." Daily News staff - 19th March 2011

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Saturday, 19th March 2011 - 2:25am

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