Following a meeting with LGBTI advocates, Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr has followed in Hilary Clinton’s footsteps and affirmed that LGBTI human rights are a core priority in Australian foreign policy. The statement reads:
MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
Senator the Hon. Bob Carr
July 19, 2013
LGBTI RIGHTS A CORE FOREIGN POLICY PRIORITY FOR RUDD GOVERNEMNT
Foreign Minister Bob Carr today affirmed the Rudd Government’s commitment to make lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) rights a core foreign policy priority.
Senator Carr said the Rudd Government will seek to identify ways in which Australia can best pursue action on LGBTI issues in all multilateral fora, including the Commonwealth and the Human Rights Council.
“We will also seek to strategically identify countries which are backsliding on legislation relating to LGBTI rights and engage bilaterally with those countries,” Senator Carr said.
“Australia has a strong record in advocating LGBTI issues and will continue to build on it.
“We regularly raise with Russia our concerns with their gay propaganda laws and will continue to raise concerns with other nations as appropriate.
“I have asked my department to undertake a review of LGBTI issues throughout the Pacific region and to examine the possibility of a second resolution on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in the Human Rights Council.
“Where appropriate, I will look to take these issues up directly with my international counterparts.”
Senator Carr’s announcement follows a meeting today with Senator Louise Pratt and LGBTI NGO representatives.
Participants welcomed the 14 December 2012 adoption of the Commonwealth Charter, under Australia’s chair, which says all member states are implacably opposed to all forms of discrimination on any grounds.
Senator Carr also welcomed the overnight decision of the UN NGO Committee to grant the Australian Lesbian Medical Association full consultative status.
“This is a landmark decision,” Senator Carr said.
“We welcome this positive step for ALMA, given its application has been before the UN’s NGO Committee for over three years.”
ALMA is a network that offers mentoring and support to lesbian doctors and medical students.
An example of the policy in action: Carr is reportedly trying to ‘persuade’ PNG to decriminalise homosexuality, currently punishable by 14 years in jail.
I understand the following groups were represented at the meeting:
National LGBTI Health Alliance
Australian Coalition for Equality
Australian Marriage Equality
Australian Human Rights Commission
A Gender Agenda
Human Rights Law Centre
Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations
Australian Lesbian Medical Association
Senator Louise Pratt
The Kirby Institute
Pacific Friends of the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS
Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras
Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade
Senator the Hon Bob Carr
Organisation Intersex International