Saturday, 17 May 2008

International Day Against Homophobia

Today, May 17, is International Day Against Homophobia.

This year is particularly significant because it is the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These rights extend to all of humanity, being the entitlement of everyone,regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. Everyone, including sexual minorities, are entitled to freedom of expression and freedom of abuse.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted in 1948, immediately after World War II, when Hitler's murderous regime targetted and murdered in its concentration camps and "research facilities" anyone it didn't like, including Jews, Russians, Gypsies, disabled people, and gays and lesbians.

Since World War II there has been enormous progress in the protection of human rights, but there is much more to be done. Before the Asian Bubble crash about 10 years ago we heard that there did not need to be the same respect for democracy and human rights in Asia because there were "Asian values" which were supposed in some way to be different to universal human values and human rights. Hopefully those views have changed and are changing.

Unfortunately there are still countries in the world where being gay or lesbian or just different means that you end up being persecuted, as the ILGA map on my blog shows, including with criminal punsihments of the death penalty.

The International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) reports that no less than 86 countries still criminalize consensual same sex acts among adults, thus institutionally promoting a culture of hatred. Among those, 7 have legal provisions with death penalty as punishment. To those 86 countries, there are 6 provinces or territorial units which also punish homosexuality with imprisonment.

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