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Beyer to address global LGBT conference

Thu 27 Jul 2006 In: International News

Georgina Beyer, the world's first transgender MP, will address the first International Conference on LGBT rights, which opened in Montreal, Canada, last night, in association with the inaugural Out Games. The United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, speaking at the opening of the conference, said gays have a fundamental right to privacy and the right to live free from violence. “[There is] a genuine public interest in preserving space in which the state must not intrude,” said Arbour, who is a former Canadian Supreme Court Justice. She said the right to privacy protects one's family, home, and sexual identity. There is “a direct link between the denial of the essential right to privacy and the prevalence of violence against LGBT people throughout the world,” she told the conference. She went on to say that national law or custom does not justify the “abuse, attacks, torture and indeed killings that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons are subjected to because of who they are or perceived to be.” Arbour urged delegates to continue to work with the United Nations and non-governmental organisations to further their goals. LGBT groups have consistently applied for recognition by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), but have been denied official status. In January, the United States voted with notorious human rights abusers, Iran, Zimbabwe, China and Cameroon to reject applications by LGBT groups. Recognition by ECOSOC would allow groups to make representations to the UN on LGBT rights. The conference will hear from a number of high profile LGBT activists and politicians, including New Zealand's Georgina Beyer; Alice Nkom, the lawyer defending 11 men imprisoned for homosexual offences in Cameroon; and Ashok Row Kavi, HIV activist and founder of ‘Bombay Dost', India's first registered gay publication. Over 2000 people from around the world are attending the four-day conference. The Out Games will officially open on Saturday, with over 13,000 participants from 111 countries.     Ref: (d)

Credit: News Staff

First published: Thursday, 27th July 2006 - 12:00pm

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