Thursday, 21 May 2009

Jean stands up for LGBT rights

Many readers of this blog would no doubt have seen Green Party member and Parliamentary Candidate, Peter Tatchell, being arrested in Moscow for the "crime" of speaking out about institutionalised and widespread homophobia in Russia. Alas, the attitudes that Peter highlighted in Russia are just the tip of the iceberg across Europe - and, sadly, an indication of prejudiced attitudes that still exist here in the UK as well. Jean has been doing lots of work on equality in the Parliament, as a member of the Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights, and is joined in her activism on the issue by Joseph Healy, who is fourth on the London Green Party's European list on June 4th, and a prominent member of the Party's LGBT working group.

Below is the most recent press release from Jean on this issue. By re-electing her to the European Parliament, we will be ensuring a strong voice to speak out against prejudice in the name of Londoners.


- Renewed call for equality for LGBT people after Moscow violence
- Greens host event for London Eastern European LGBT community

Jean Lambert, London's Green Party MEP, has welcomed a report which names and shames countries around the world where state-sponsored homophobic laws exist.

Homosexuality is illegal in 80 countries around the world, and in five countries it is a crime punishable by death, according to State Sponsored Homophobia, the third annual report from ILGA, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association.

Jean, who is a member of the European Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee and the cross-party Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights, said:

"This report serves as a reminder of the terrible choice that LGBT people all over the world face: to risk persecution, imprisonment and even death because of their sexuality, or to deny their sexual or gender identity to escape unbearable discrimination. This fundamental abuse of human rights is suffered by too many people. Greens have been at the forefront of efforts to improve protection against all forms of discrimination across Europe, and we have made important progress. But there is still a long way to go.

"Last December, 66 countries signed the United Nations Statement against the criminalisation of homosexuality. It's a sad truth that these states are significantly outnumbered by those 80 countries where homosexuality is illegal. It's up to us to exert pressure on leaders at all levels to end this persecution which stems from homophobia."

The 2009 report from ILGA follows a report from the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, which found in March that homophobia and discrimination against LGBT people were still widespread across Europe.

Eastern Europe is an area of particular concern, and in March the Green Party's LGBT Group pledged to work alongside Polish Greens to help tackle homophobia in the region. This Wednesday, Joseph Healy, from the Green Party's LGBT group, is hosting a meeting with members of the Eastern European LGBT community in London.

Events took place last weekend to mark IDAHO 2009, the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. In Moscow, the scene of brutal attacks by far-right extremists in the past, sources reported that police used violent and oppressive tactics to break up the peaceful Slavic Pride march. Between 30 and 40 people were arrested. Peter Tatchell, the longstanding human rights campaigner and Jean's Green Party colleague, was detained but released without charges.

In Riga, the first Baltic Pride march took place in peace, after an earlier attempt by the city authorities to cancel it. Representatives from Pride London, which is twinned with the Riga event, joined the march.

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