Participation in conferences and convenings – 2012

Seminar on Strengthening the Human Rights Council

In October 2012, ARC Co-Director John Fisher participated in a one-day meeting on “The Human Rights Council’s performance: Prospects and Challenges”, co-hosted by Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, the German civil society network “Forum Human Rights” and the German Institute for Human Rights. This seminar brought together approximately 60 experts from NGOs, academia and State representatives to reflect on the performance of the UN Human Rights Council, challenges and opportunities for strengthening its performance and commitment to human rights for all.

ILGA Europe Conference

John Fisher and Sheherezade Kara attended the ILGA Europe conference in Dublin in October 2012. The various rounds of conference workshops, plenary sessions, and meetings with colleagues from around the continent were extremely valuable. The workshop presented by activists from Russia and the Ukraine on the growing restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression and assembly of LGBT people in the face of an increasingly outspoken and aggressive neo-Nazi opposition was particularly shocking and moving. We salute the courage and strength of human rights defenders working amidst such hostilities.

Saint Petersburg Conference  on Human Rights in Russia

In October 2012, John Fisher was pleased to have the opportunity to participate in a conference on The Importance of non-discrimination policies in the Russian Federation – challenges and perspectives. The conference was co-organised by the Hirschfeld-Eddy Foundation, the human rights foundation of the Lesbian and Gay Federation in Germany (LSVD) together with the Russian partner organisations “LGBT Network” and Moscow Helsinki Group, building on previous conferences in Kiev 2008 and Riga 2010.

At a time when Russia is considering draconian new laws prohibiting a broad range of LGBT-related expression, under the guise of “homosexual propaganda”, the conference involved discussion of national, regional and international human rights mechanisms and strategies for combatting the new laws, and an opportunity to develop networks and support, including with Human Rights Commissioners from several regions in Russia. Following the conference, an experts’ meeting reviewed preliminary results of hate crime monitoring being conducted by the Russian LGBT Network.

ILGA World Conference

From December 10-16 2012, ARC participated in the ILGA World Conference, hosted in Stockholm by RFSL, where we organised two workshops. The first was a panel discussion on gender-motivated killings of women based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and the second was a roundtable discussion on next steps on SOGI at the UN. Many thanks to all those who presented and participated in these workshops. Co-directors John Fisher and Kim Vance were also pleased to be invited to present at the trans pre-conference, on gender identity at the UN.

International AIDS Conference in Washington

During the World AIDS Conference in Washington in July, 2012, ARC organized a Global Village workshop on the Activist’s Guide to the Yogyakarta Principles, facilitated distribution of the Principles and Guides, participated in a key meeting at the White House, facilitated by the Council for Global Equality, discussing, among other issues, US engagement in upcoming UN initiatives and follow up to the SOGI resolution and panel, and organized several strategy meetings with NGO partners to discuss initiatives at the upcoming sessions of the UN General Assembly, particularly around the extrajudicial executions resolution.

Global Media Forum

In July 2012, John Fisher presented at the Global Media Forum, as part of a workshop on the Right to Education and Sexual Self-Determination. The Global Media Forum brings together journalists from around the world to discuss current issues and challenges, and provided an opportunity to engage media representatives in discussion of rights-based perspectives and issues of sexuality. Hosted by the German Institute for Human Rights, the workshop also featured presenters from Germany, Slovenia and Kenya (via Skype), and resulted in vigorous discussion.

AWID Forum

In April 2012, Kim Vance and Sheherezade Kara were pleased to attend the AWID Forum in Istanbul, where ARC co-hosted a well-attended panel discussion with GALANG, Out-Right Namibia, IGLHRC and FARUG. The panel was titled “Highlighting the InterSEXions: Sexuality, Economy and LGBT Rights”, and explored the relationship between poverty and the denial of sexual rights, the way in which sexuality is used to obscure public debate on economic policies or practices, and the best practices of groups working with economically disadvantaged LBT persons. The panel was moderated by Kim Vance, and panellists included Linda Baumann, Kasha Jacqueline, Anne Lim and Jessica Stern.