Satellite Meeting on Racism, Discrimination and Intolerance of Sexual Diversity Declaration

2003-01-24 00:00:00

Latin American South-South Dialogue, International Lesbian and Gay Association's Andean Sub-region and ALAI Women's Programme

QUITO, 13 MARCH 2001

Women and Men, representing groups, movements and non-governmental organizations, participating in the Satellite Meeting on Racism, Discrimination and Intolerance of Sexual Diversity on March 13; 2001, hereby address the United Nations, the World Conference against Racism and the Forum of the Americas for Diversity and Plurality, in order to state that:

1. The World Conference on Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Other Related Forms of Intolerance (WCAR), to be held in Durban, is an important opportunity to reaffirm the principles of universality, indivisibility and inter-dependence of human rights, the full enforcement of which will require elimination of all forms of discrimination that negatively affect human individually;

2. The WCAR, being the first UN World Conference on the topic of racism to include "related forms of intolerance", broadens the discussion to cover other critical issues;

3. The Human Rights Declaration reaffirms the principle of non-discrimination and proclaims that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity, in rights and liberties established in that Declaration, without any distinction whatsoever. A life of freedom, without prejudices, coercion or threats to the physical or mental well-being of individuals presupposes the elimination of sexism, racism, xenophobia and homophobia;

4. Despite the existence and mandatory nature of the international agreements and conventions establishing the principles of non-discrimination and equality without distinctions regarding race, age, language, ethnic group, culture, religion, disability, or other status, nevertheless the exclusion, concealment and flagrant violations of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of persons because of their sexual orientation still persists;

5. There remain serious obstacles to the full enjoyment of civil and political rights, as well as economic, social and cultural rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons, particularly those who also belong to peoples or population groups that are excluded or discriminated against because of their race, ethnic group, language, nationality, gender, socio-economic status, age, disability, or other status. These rights are not expressly recognized in most national norms currently in effect, and therefore discrimination and inequality based on sexual orientation continue to persist.

6. There are still high rates of physical, sexual and psychological violence in the public domain and in private life toward persons with a sexual identity different from heterosexual;

7. It is necessary to define the concept of diversity. The Satellite Meeting has defined diversity as an intrinsic feature of humankind, of societies and cultures, which also includes the sexual identity and sex life of all persons. These are aspects that, safeguarded by specific human rights, cannot be subject to imposed models, be submitted to intolerance or denial of liberty or dignity. Therefore, sexual diversity must be established inalienably as a right of human beings.

Accordingly, and collectively assuming the commitment to undertake joint actions geared towards creating a new global society based on the principles of diversity and pluralism, the Satellite Meeting proposes the following Action Plan to the WCAR and Forum of the Americas, to take into account the ways in which discrimination due to sexual orientation is related to and worsened by other forms of discrimination. Therefore, WE RESOLVE:

TO CALL upon the United Nations to incorporate the respect for sexual diversity into human rights instruments, explicitly rejecting the imposition of any pattern for life based on intolerance, on denial of persons' freedom and dignity.

TO CALL upon the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Other Related Forms of Intolerance to declare that the various forms of discrimination including, among others, racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, sexism, lesbophobia, and homophobia are crimes against humanity.

TO URGE States to formulate Constitutional clauses that explicitly guarantee non-discrimination and enjoyment of all rights for all persons, without any distinction regarding race, ethnic origin, gender, age, sexual orientation, language, religion, national origin, migratory status, social status, economic standing, work or occupation, birth, health status and disability, as well as other diversities. Likewise, to incorporate mechanisms into their legislation that allows for the investigation and punishment of all forms of discrimination, against individual and collective practices. And also to repeal discriminatory laws and those that criminalizes consensual same-sex relations.

TO DEMAND that governments provide legal defense for the victims of racism, xenophobia, sexism, lesbophobia, and homophobia, who are generally also affected by other forms of discrimination limiting their possibilities for defending themselves.

TO CALL upon the communication agencies, the media and related systems to reaffirm their democratic and ethical principles and their social function as opinion-leaders, by opening up their areas of action to sensitize society and to include the expressions and symbolic representations of diversity; to recognize discriminated sectors' right to communication; and to eradicate the broadcasting of products with discriminatory contents.

TO INVITE the World Health Organization and the Pan-American Health Organization to recognize and take measures regarding the fact that racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, sexism and homophobia directly affect the health and lives of the excluded segments of the population at large, due to unequal access to health-care services, and because they raise obstacles to persons' achieving a state of optimal well-being.

TO PRESS the WHO and the PAHO to pursue programs with different governments, promoting:
- research policies oriented toward lowering the costs of treatments for epidemics and pandemics, such as HIV/AIDS and others, affecting low-income populations.
- amendments to international patent regulations to make low-cost access to medicines possible.
- development of a holistic vision of emergencies that will cover persons living with HIV/AIDS, and who are victims of racial discrimination, homophobia and sexism in the cultural, social, legal and political spheres.

TO DEMAND for national and international authorities to legislate in order to make traffic and/or other such dealings (servitude, forced labor or slavery) in persons and especially in women and girl/boy children a serious crime in all countries, without affecting the victims' migratory status.

TO RECOMMEND that the United Nations prepare a specific "Convention" addressing various forms of intolerance. That the "Convention" addresses also the respect for sexual diversity, since this has been omitted and thus not received specific attention in other Conventions or in the Universal Declaration.