International Dialogue on Human Rights: Issues in Gender and Sexuality

Project at a glance

Dates and Place

09 - 13 December 2004, Geneva, Switzerland

Organizers

ARC ("Allied Rainbow Communities") International and Liu Institute for Global Issues, with support from domestic, regional and international partner organisations.

Participants

40 - 50 participants.

Project details

The International Dialogue provided an opportunity for organizations active in advancing sexual orientation, gender and gender identity issues regionally and internationally to gather in Geneva, meet with the new UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, engage in training prior to the next Commission on Human Rights, connect with Brazil and key country missions, identify priorities, strengthen regional networks and develop tools for working together as effectively as possible.

Background

ARC International successfully co-hosted an international consultation in Brazil in December 2003, bringing together international and domestic groups active on sexual orientation, gender and gender identity issues. The specific focus of the consultation was to develop support for the Brazilian resolution on sexual orientation and human rights at the UN Commission on Human Rights, although the consultation also had the broader objective of developing an international network that could share information and work together to advance LGBT human rights over the longer term.

Prior to the 2004 CHR, ARC International launched a global electronic listserve, which has grown to include over 150 people from countries including Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, Zimbabwe, China/Hong Kong, Fiji, India, Israel, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the USA, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, the UK, France, Croatia, Russia, and Turkey.  This listserv has proven to be an invaluable source of networking and information-sharing.

The partnering organization, Liu Institute for Global Issues, is located at UBC, and pursues interdisciplinary and policy-related research and advocacy on global public policy issues related to human security. Its research agenda embraces international relations, human security, peace and disarmament, global public opinion and democratization, the environment, conflict and development, and global health and international justice issues.  The Liu Institute has developed a very successful model of 'international dialogues', bringing together the expertise of institutions, governments, civil society and funding organisations in an off-the-record forum.

Agenda topics

The precise agenda is still being finalized but is likely to include topics such as:

  • Meeting with Louise Arbour, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights? the role of the OHCHR in addressing human rights concerns of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgendered people, and other disadvantaged minorities (or similar topic to be determined)
  • The ICC and its role in protecting groups vulnerable to persecution
  • Liaising with Special Rapporteurs
  • International treaty bodies: engaging effectively
  • The role of faith-based organizations in advancing a progressive human rights agenda (Catholics for a Free Choice, Women Living Under Muslim Law, Al-Fatiha, Int'l LGBT Jewish organization)
  • Panel Presentation: The Brazilian Resolution (reps from Brazilian and other missions)
  • Working Groups: other progressive resolutions at the CHR
  • Training workshop: the CHR and how to make a difference
  • Funding international work: dialogue with funders
  • International entry-points beyond the CHR
  • Mainstreaming sexual rights in international mechanisms
  • Regional caucuses: identifying regional and domestic priorities
  • International organizing: Who are our allies in advancing a platform encompassing a full range of sexual rights?  What are the mechanisms for advancing this platform?  How can we work together most effectively?
  • 61st UNCHR: debrief from 59th and 60th session; discuss relevant resolutions, mechanisms for advocacy at the UNCHR, building networks, discussion of stakeholder roles, analysis of existing gaps and identification of challenges, developing a lobbying network and identifying structures for moving forward.

Role of ICVolunteers

It had been anticipated that a number of participants would be primarily Spanish-speaking and would have limited facility with English. Volunteer interpreters helped with simultaneously interpreted in English and Spanish. For parallel sessions and working groups, 'whisper translation' or sequential translation was made available as required.

Efforts were made to provide consultation documentation in both languages. Efforts also were made to identify and accommodate other participant needs, such as wheelchair accessibility, childcare facilities etc.

Short Term Projects

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