Resilient societies: Safeguard the security of all people in all their diversity
09:00 – 10:30
This session is an opportunity to bring together a diverse range of policy makers and LGBTI activists and advocates from across the Commonwealth to investigate the range of policy options available to improve LGBTI equality, to explore examples of good policy practice in the Commonwealth and to discuss mechanisms for improving understanding and resourcing of good policy within the context of the Commonwealth.
The needs of LGBTI communities are wide reaching and cross several policy areas. Potential areas for consideration include freedom from violence, health (in particular HIV and sexual health), education, development policy, gender policy and criminalisation. In particular, there is a desire to speak about LGBTI rights as a part of, rather than apart from, a wider rights agenda. This session will be an opportunity to look at some of the policy options used by Commonwealth countries to support the rights of LGBTI people, from sensitisation of civil servants, to well-crafted antidiscrimination and equal opportunities legislation, to the use of penal code modernisation to effect decriminalisation. Examples of good practice in fostering effective and productive relationships between civil society and governments are vital, as are effective implementation strategies that bring on board traditional opponents of LGBTI rights.
The advancement of LGBTI rights may be perceived as contradictory to a country’s mainstream culture, with religions feeling threatened by such developments. Religious belief may often be perceived as one of the main stumbling blocks for the advancement of LGBTI rights, or one of the reasons for hatred towards LGBTI person. The successful implementation of policy needs to understand these concerns and there is an opportunity here to learn from the experience of Maltese policy makers and civil society in addressing religious concerns and helping in the development of secular policies which are inclusive.
Read the publication from the Kaleidoscope Trust: SPEAKING OUT 2015: The rights of LGBTI people across the Commonwealth.
(Chair) Baroness Verma, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for DFID, UK
Helena Dalli, Minister for Civil Liberties, Malta
Francis Sinsai, African Commission on Human Rights
Dr Lachlan Strahan, First Assistant Secretary, Multilateral Policy Division, DFAT, Australia
Ruth Baldacchino, ILGA, Malta
Steve Letsike, Access Chapter 2, South Africa
Caleb Orozco, Unibam, Belize