Monday, July 6, 2009

European Parliament's Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights

Excerpt from:

Challenging Human Rights Violations

on Mon 23 October 2006 - in What We Do

One of the lessons that have to be taken from the 2nd World War is that appeasement costs lives. Had individuals not been afraid to speak against those who would wish harm upon our minorities, many of the 20th Century's worse atrocities may have been avoided. In the face of renewed proliferation of discrimination and hatred, we, as concerned citizens of the world, must stand up and speak with one united voice against those who would wish to curtail the universal rights of others. Members and supporters of the Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights are not afraid to stand up and challenge human rights violations, wherever they may happen.

We speak out against human rights violations, and we do so by supporting the actions of the European Parliament that work towards those ends. We likewise use our existing network to monitor the progress of new national and European legislations in order to ensure that they meet the highest human rights standards. By monitoring the progress of new legislation carefully, we are able to mobilise members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and raise awareness of issues that may be contentious and need review. In doing so, we ensure that the European Union remains amongst the regions of the world most respectful of the sanctity of human rights.

By monitoring the European Council of Ministers and the European Commission, we ensure that those individuals responsible for forming European foreign policy are aware of incidents of homophobia and given countries and raise it in their on-going dialogues with non-EU countries.

We do not hesitate to contact those who would wish harm to our communities. More often than not those who create unbearable situations for the LGBT community are the same individuals who sign international treaties which affirm their obligations to protecting minorities and ensuring respect for fundamental rights. By addressing those with the power to change situations, we ensure that the voice of those who cannot speak is heard.

Sometimes, these actions are not enough. When things get bad, the members of the Intergroup do not hesitate to support actions at the grassroots. This is why we participate in conferences as keynote speakers, why we joined hands with other activists in the middle of dangerous Equality and Gay Pride marches in 2006. Actions such as these are common practice by the Intergroup's members.

Each half-year, we prioritise a number of particular topics. Actions in these fields are given a greater portion of our time and effort. Our campaigns give the opportunity to create coordinated impulses that lead to greater awareness of specific issues facing the LGBT community. Some campaigns, for example same-sex partnerships and family laws, are on-going whilst others like our current campaign prioritising specific actions on 3rd Countries are more finite in duration.

Whatever the circumstance, and whatever the motivation, fundamental rights are universal rights that apply to all and must be respected by all. It is with this understanding that all our members approach homophobia as a question of human rights that is the concern of us all.

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