Liberal International

Liberals fight back against criminalization of LGBT rights

Liberal International , donderdag 16 januari 2014

LI President Hans Van Baalen MEP and LI HRC Member Marietje Schaake MEP have put forward a motion for a resolution in the European Parliament on behalf of the ALDE Group targeting the recent criminalization of LGBT rights around the world. The motion references the upcoming Sochi Winter Olympics and calls on the Russian authorities “to repeal the law adopted in June 2013 banning so-called "homosexual propaganda", emphasising the need “for continued international vigilance on this issue.” Commenting on the draft text Van Baalen said: “As the eyes of the world shift to the upcoming Sochi Winter Games, we as liberals have a duty to speak and above all act on behalf of the many victims of LGBT discrimination not just in Russia, but around the world."

The LI President continued, emphasising the importance of effective diplomatic engagement: "A boycott of the Olympic Games is counterproductive. I call on all of the liberal Heads of State and government representatives who will be present at the games to seize the moment and engage with their Russian counterparts, much like liberal Prime Minister Mark Rutte has decided to do, as it is only by maintaining the dialogue that we can succeed.”  The LI President’s remarks coincide with the LI LGBT Rights Working Group long-standing campaign in relation to the Games and raising the awareness about the deteriorating situation with LGBTI Rights in Russia.

The motion has also expressed deep disappointment over the recent LGBTI criminalization bills which were proposed in Uganda and Nigeria. Commenting on the terrible developments in Africa, Chair of LI LGBT Rights Working Group Frank Van Dalen said: “Many of the laws criminalising homosexuality in Africa are legacies of the British colonial era, which are so often wrongly claimed to be a part of African culture. Overt affirmation by the United Kingdom could help counteract the cultural relativism. Encouraging more homosexuals to stand for political office is another step. The West cannot and must not remain silent and should show it is serious about protecting universal human rights. Cutting the development budget is the first appropriate action, followed up by the suggested steps to create a more sustainable solution.”

Van Dalen took part in the Uganda Pride event last year and subsequently participated in a workshop hosted by the Africa Liberal Network (LI cooperating organisation)  during their General Assembly meeting in Tanzania, which focused on LGBT Rights among other human rights issues.