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e-bulletin #27 – March 2020

Dear friends and colleagues,
These have been very intense months, not only because of the work we have been doing, but also because of the important changes happening within our organization. Regarding our work, we had our International Dialogue in Delhi, India, where a wonderful group of activists, academics and practitioners shared impressive experiences and good practices that have helped advance LGBTI rights worldwide. As usual, we also presented at conferences and attended meetings to strengthen our movement capacities. With respect to ARC staff, Kim Vance-Mubanga leaves the organization as of the end of March and we have recruited exciting new people to lead our board through this transition.
Find out more information in our e-bulletin.

Moving on

The board and staff are preparing for the retirement of our co-founder and current Executive Director, Kim Vance-Mubanga, at the end of March. Please see the departure note here. This is a significant transitional moment for ARC and we are extremely thankful for the incredible legacy created by our founders.
We ask for your patience during this rebuilding phase, but stay-tuned for exciting new announcements and directions. We wish you all the best, Kim, in your future directions!

International Dialogue in India

Activists, scholars, and practitioners from across the world met in Delhi, India for our International Dialogue “Rising Through the Challenge: documenting and analysing best practices for advancing human rights related to sexual orientation, gender identity or expression and sex characteristics (SOGIESC) using the tools of international law, domestic litigation, and apology/reparation”.
This four-day meeting was the ninth International Dialogue organized by ARC International, and this year it was organized in partnership with The Centre for Health Law, Ethics and Technology (CHLET) at Jindal Global Law School, O.P. Jindal Global University. The Dialogue also offered the UN Independent Expert on SOGI, Victor Madrigal-Borloz, his first visit to India and a valuable opportunity to both inspire and learn from activists in the region and across the globe.
The first day was a workshop for Indian/South Asian participants exploring the role of international law and mechanisms in domestic level advocacy. Over the next three days, over 70 participants from 30 countries, shared experiences and best practices that have helped advance the rights of gender and sexual minorities.  The three days of the workshop were structured so that participants focused on the role that international law, domestic litigation and apology/reparation have played in advancing human rights related to SOGIESC. 
A summary of selected narratives shared during the Dialogue will be published during the coming months. Stay tuned, as the content might be useful for a broad range of global stakeholders.
You can read a blog post on the Dialogue here.


Intersectionality research

ARC collaborated with EJA (Equality and Justice Alliance) to do a research project on intersectional work in the Commonwealth, focusing in particular on the complex intersections between women’s and LGBT+ movements. The study, authored by Kim Vance-Mubanaga and Arvind Narrain, builds on ARC’s relationships with its partners and seeks to bring to the attention of a wider global audience, the often inspiring intersectional work being done in very difficult circumstances. It spans countries and regions as diverse as India, Zambia, the Carribean, Nigeria, Botswana and Fiji.
Check our website for the final publication in the coming weeks.

Inclusive policies on SOGIESC

In December 2019, Arvind Narrain was invited to participate in a meeting of the Commonwealth Partnership for Democracy (CP4D) in Bangkok. This convening was an attempt to see how inclusive policies on SOGIESC issues have been advanced in the region. CP4D works with parliaments and local governments in 18 Commonwealth Member States across Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia to improve representation of women, young people, people with disabilities and the LGBT+ community in the democratic process.

Dignity Network

Kim Vance-Mubanga was in Toronto in November 2019 as Chair of the Dignity Network Steering Committee to facilitate discussions on building infrastructure for the network as they continue to expand and develop. This was also a moment to reflect on recent election results in Canada and the loss of the seat of Randy Boissonault, the LGBT Advisor to the Prime Minister, and what that means for international engagement from Canada. In addition, the Network further developed strategies to facilitate the roll-out of Canada’s announced 30 million dollar fund for international LGBT rights work.

Monument Advisory Committee 

Our ED, Kim Vance-Mubanga  was in Ottawa in October 2019 to attend a consultation convened by the LGBT Purge Fund to shape the vision for a new national monument as part of the Monument Advisory Committee. The committee travelled to three potential sites in Ottawa and offered feedback about each. They also visited other monuments in the National Capital Region to consider various design elements and impact. The monument will memorialize the historic discrimination against LGBTQ2+ Canadians, including the LGBT Purge. It will capture the tragedy, victory, celebration, and journey of the Canadian LGBTQ2+ community.

Decoding the Indian Supreme Court Judgement

In late October and November 2019, Arvind Narrain was invited to New York to participate in a series of academic seminars and community panel discussions hosted by Yale University and their partners, which aimed at decoding the Indian Supreme Court judgment decriminalising homomsexuality as rooted in socio-legal battles and honouring some of the activists involved in the long battle toward this victory in India.

CWSDC (Caribbean Women and Sexual Diversity Conference)

ARC’s Kim Vance-Mubanga attended the CWSDC in Jamaica in October 2019 and presented a workshop on intersectional linkages between women’s and LGBT advocacy and the Beijing+25 processes that are unfolding across the globe. It was also an opportunity to learn about the important work being done in the region, especially trans organizing in Jamaica, and exciting to see a trans-led organization in Bahamas elected to host the next conference.

Training of LGBT activists in Myanmar 

In the last week of January, 2020, Arvind was invited by LGBT group Colours Rainbow in Myanmar to share experiences on the Section 377 litigation in India with activists. This meeting was a part of the Yangon Pride, 2020.
He also addressed law students on the implications of Section 377 of the Penal Code.

Peace and Stabilization Operations Grant

ARC is pleased that a joint grant application (led by Outright Action Action International) to the Canadian government under their Peace and Stabilization Operations programme was successful. We will work collaboratively with Outright and our other partner, AFE (Arab Foundation for Freedoms and Equality) to deliver a number of key outcomes. The first activity for ARC was desk research analysing the work of the Commission of Inquiry on Syria from a SOGIESC lens.
This research is now complete and available on our website here.

Looking ahead

CSW and Beijing+25
ARC’s ED, Kim Vance-Mubanga had planned to travel to New York for the March session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, but those plans have all changed because of concerns around Coronavirus. She and Mariana Winocur, our Communications Officer, will continue to be involved in both global civil society discussions and liaison with the Canadian government following the CSW political declaration. ARC continues to be a member of the UN Women’s Civil Society Strategic Planning and Leadership Group to help strategize about the Generation Equality Fora in Mexico and France.

Peace and Stabilization Operations
Continuing with our peace and stabilization work with our partners (Outright Action International and Arab Foundation for Freedoms and Equality), we will be using the Syria research report (highlighted above) as a foundation to engage Syrian human rights defenders in capacity building and awareness raising opportunities leading up to and during the September session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Internal transition
ARC has recruited four new board members and additional advisors to assist with a transitioning process. Our program work will slow down somewhat as we move through this phase and plan for new directions and structures to meet those needs. Stay tuned!

Other editions of the ARC E-bulletin

26. October 2019 I 25. May 201924. January 201923. September 201822. April 201821. December 201720. August 2017 I 19. April 2017 I 18. January 2017 I 17. September 2016 16. April 2016 I 15. October 2015 I 14. April 2015 I 13. January 2015  I 12. September 2014  I 11. June 2014  I 10. February 2014  I 9. November 2013  I 8. July 2013  I 7. December 2012  I 6. September 2012  I 5. March 2012  I 4. October 2011  I 3. July 2011  I 2. April 2011  I 1. January 2011