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Louisa Wall's speech to Pacific Free and Equal campaign

Fri 7 Aug 2015 In: Features View at Wayback View at NDHA

Labour MP Louisa Wall joined Fiji's President in launching the Pacific Free not under the control of another. Equal - to live in the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, or opportunities. To live in - Dignity - the state or quality of being worthy of honour or respect. Rights - a moral or legal entitlement to have or do something. What are these rights? I think they are simple. They are the rights of equal citizens across our respective democracies, across our respective Pacific nations, across Te Moana Nui A Kiwa. As equal citizens we are not criminals and so the first step is collective law reform. What does this mean? That our governments, our political leaders will do as Palau did last year which was to address the recommendation in their Universal Periodic Review to ensure they had inclusive laws on consensual adult sexual relationships. Its that easy, it's that simple. The state should not discriminate against any of its citizens. Next year in NZ we will celebrate 30 years since our law reform to ensure consensual sexual relationships - that process of change was started in 1974, and 1979 and 1980 by politicians but they did not have the support from the gay activist community who wanted the same age of consent - 16 not 21 years of age. So when we achieved law reform in 1986 it was because Parliament and the People, the many communities of interest who believe in fundamental human rights, were working together to achieve change. We need to talk about the relevance of what the "Free and Equal" campaign is attempting to achieve. And we need champions from across society: from religion, community, NGO and social justice advocates, politics and local and regional human rights institutions. What is the role of the Pacific Islands Forum? It was founded in 1971 to support member governments to enhance the economic and social wellbeing of our peoples by fostering cooperation between governments and international agencies. PIF would be a natural vehicle in the Pacific to lead the human rights for everyone - no exceptions, no one left behind agenda for change and to support us, in our communities who are dedicated to achieving this change too. No reira, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa. Vinaka vaka levu. staff - 7th August 2015    

Credit: staff

First published: Friday, 7th August 2015 - 9:37am

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