Progress on gay rights in the Americas

Sophie Picheta June 11, 2008
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A group of nations in the Americas have passed a unanimous resolution condemning human rights voilations based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
The Organisation of American States (OAS) “brings together the nations of the Western Hemisphere to strengthen co-operation on democratic values, defend common interests and debate the major issues facing the region and the world.”

It is made up of 35 member states.

The OAS passed the resolution at a General Assembly on Friday.

Human Rights Watch called it “a crucial step to end the silence around violence against LGBT people in the Americas.”

“For the resolution to have an impact, concrete changes in law and policy must follow.” said Scott Long, director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights Programme at Human Rights Watch.

“It is critical that member states of the OAS continue to support protections against violence and discrimination in other international venues.”

The Resolution on Human Rights, Sexual Orientation, and Gender Identity was adopted by the OAS General Assembly on the 3rd June with support from 34 countries.

More than ten OAS countries have national or state laws which protect all people regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Countries such as Chile, Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina are currently discussing specific anti-discrimination laws.

During the General Assembly, activists from Latin American LGBT organisations brought some of their concerns to OAS members, for instance how LGBT community leaders often experience harassment throughout the Americas, and the need for specific protections for LGBT people.

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