UK GOVERNMENT ADVOCACY FOR LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL AND TRANSGENDER (LGBT) HUMAN RIGHTS – HOLDING THE COALITION TO ACCOUNT

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Conference
2010 National LGBT Conference
Date
28 July 2010
Decision

Conference acknowledges the breakthroughs achieved under the last government to promote LGBT equality internationally. These included:

1.Support for and representation at Pride events;

2.Support for statements on LGBT equality at the United Nations General Assembly and Human Rights Council;

3.The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) toolkit to promote LGBT equality

Conference recognises that Government Minister Ian McCartney’s attendance and speech at 2006 UNISON LGBT Conference was a particular breakthrough. The work he then advanced at the FCO was built on by subsequent Ministers.

Conference notes reference to international LGBT issues in the Government Equalities Office’s “Working for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Equality” (June 2010).

This included campaigning for decriminalisation of consensual same sex relationships, especially within the Commonwealth (work already established by the previous government) and stopping the deportation of people seeking asylum because their sexual orientation or gender identity puts them at proven risk of imprisonment, torture or execution.

Whilst these commitments – if followed through – are welcome, Conference is concerned they may be used to give a ‘progressive’ image to a government committed to unprecedented cuts and attacks on our terms, conditions and rights.

Conference is also concerned that:

A.The Conservatives are part of the same European Parliament grouping as the Polish Law and Justice party, amongst others with extreme and anti-LGBT views;

B.This right-wing grouping has voted against or abstained on equality resolutions in the European Parliament;

C.There are indications the Conservatives will veto the ‘horizontal’ Directive which would give sexual orientation protection in areas outside employment across the European Union.

Conference welcomes the July Supreme Court ruling that the ‘reasonable tolerability’ test was contrary to the Refugee Convention 1951 and should not be applied. This ruling covers sexual orientation; gender identity cases are likely to be governed by the same principles. However LGBT asylum claims will still have to be proven on a case-by-case basis and there are no specific guarantees to address the systemic discrimination in the asylum system detailed in the reports from the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group (UKLGIG) (April 2010) and Stonewall (May 2010).

Conference therefore instructs the National LGBT Committee to:

I.Closely scrutinise the record of the Con-Dem Coalition on international LGBT equality and human rights, demanding they deliver on their promises;

II.Continue to campaign for concrete action through international institutions to end the criminalisation of homosexuality and to promote LGBT equality;

III.Campaign with UKLGIG to ensure asylum is available to those facing persecution, imprisonment or the death penalty because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression;

IV.Raise these issues with Labour Link and LGBT Labour.