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U.N. Human Rights Commissioner Embraces IGLA

By Rex Wockner
International News Report

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, former Irish President Mary Robinson, appointed a liaison between her office and the International Lesbian and Gay Association following a groundbreaking meeting with the group's co- secretaries general October 8 in Geneva. mrobinson.jpg - 6.24 K Mary Robinson

ILGA's Jordi Petit and Jennifer Wilson said it was the first time the group's voice had been heard at the U.N.'s European headquarters.

"The meeting was extremely positive and is clearly the start of an on-going dialogue," Wilson said.

Said Petit: "Her request for us to supply material to help in the training of lesbian and gay awareness for all U.N. employees and working groups, including rapporteurs and treaty bodies, shows her recognition of ILGA as the peak NGO [non-governmental organization] on lesbian and gay rights."

ILGA and Robinson also discussed the possibility of ILGA producing a report on gay oppression worldwide to help Robinson lobby for appointment of a U.N. special rapporteur on lesbian/gay issues.

"Currently lesbians and gay men are murdered by death squads in Mexico and Brazil; live in fear of the death penalty in Afghanistan, Iran and other nations under Sharia law; are denied access to lesbian and gay literature in Singapore; and do not have equal human rights with heterosexuals in any nation of the world," ILGA said.

A follow-up meeting is planned for early next year.

ILGA is a federation of more than 400 gay organizations from 75 nations.

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