Pacific LGBTQI Human Rights Conference
LGBTQI organised groups convened for the Pacific LGBTQI Human Rights Conference in in Nuku’alofa, Tonga, in May, 2015. Co-organized by the Pacific Sexual Diversity Network (PSDN), Diverse Voices for Action and Equality (DIVA) and ARC International (ARC), the conference was hosted by the Tonga Leiti Association (TLA) in Nuku’alofa, Tonga. The conference proved vital in connecting groups from across the Pacific region and educating activists on international human rights law, recent international developments and agreed principles such as the Yogyakarta Principles. Read the full report of the conference here: “Our Voices, our Communities, our Rights: Advancing Human Rights related to Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity & Expression in the Pacific”.
Annual Law and Society Conference
Geneva Director Arvind Narrain presented as part of the Envisioning Global project at the Annual Law and Society Conference. The conference in Seattle on May 28, 2015, focused on the promises and perils of the law. Envisioning Global LGBT Rights presented on “Constitutional Challenges to Post-Colonial Criminal Law – The Experience in Two Commonwealth Regions”. Narrain’s paper explored the Indian experience of criminalisation, de-criminalisation and re- criminalisation of LGBTI lives. Other presenters on the Envisioning Team shared research in Uganda, Botswana and Kenya.
Conference of the Women’s and gender studies et Recherches Feministes
Communications Officer Maria Fontenelle was part of a three person team of Envisioning researchers to present at the Conference of the Women’s and gender studies et recherches feministes (WGSRF) in Ottawa at the end of May, 2015. The panel on LGBT Human Rights in the Caribbean constituted part of the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences 2015, Women and Gender Studies. Fontenelle’s “Compliance and Resistance: Fruits of Criminalisation” examined the comparative safety and visibility of LGBT Saint Lucians with increasing and open advocacy for the full recognition of their human rights.
Caribbean Women and Sexual Diversity Conference
ARC proudly supported the 3rd annual Caribbean Women and Sexual Diversity Conference (CWSDC) in October, 2015, in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. Activists from 16 Caribbean and Latin American countries met to network and build their capacity in advocacy.
Executive Director, Kim Vance, presented a session to assist activists in navigating international spaces such as the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) and the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). Communications Officer Maria Fontenelle led a session on using media in advocacy, with a focus on utilising readily available low-cost platforms.
Exploring “Paragraph 96 and beyond” at CSW59
On March 10, over fifty (50) people from all over the globe attended a panel at the UN Commission on the Status of Women, sponsored by ARC, ILGA and COC Nederland. Panelists offered historical accounts and research examining the impact of the Beijing Platform for Action within various UN fora, and on the lived realities of LBTI people across the globe.
Executive Director, Kim Vance, highlighted ARC’s recent report on SOGII activism from 2003-2014 and outlined the progress that has taken place in UN fora since Beijing. She noted a disappointing observation both in the data, and in discussions arising within the LBTI Caucus meeting in New York, that despite the efforts and open dialogue that took place in Beijing, the CSW has not been a space within the UN that is showing leadership on these issues or keeping pace with other areas of the UN.
ARC International was therefore among the civil society organisations supporting a public statement and sign-on issued by the caucus articulating this concern and its demands for the future.
Also contributing to the panel were Gloria Careaga Pérez of Fundación Arcoiris, Mexico, Mikee Nunez-Inton of the Society of Transsexual Women of the Philippines, and Monica Tabengwa of Pan Africa ILGA, Botswana.