Asunción, Paraguay, June 4, 2014
Mr. Secretary General, Ministers, members of the official delegation, civil society colleagues:
The lesbian, gay, bisexual, travesti, transsexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTTTI) organizations gathered in the city of Asuncion, from 3 to 5 June 2014 in accordance with the guidelines established by the General Assembly of the OAS to determine a regulatory framework to increase and strengthen the participation of civil society in the OAS and the Summits of the Americas, state that:
The LGBTTTI collective express satisfaction with reference to the central theme of this Assembly ´´Development with Social Inclusion´´, on the grounds that exclusion, regardless of the reason, produces undesirable social and economic effects that must be taken into account by States. Social groups which are discriminated against are excluded from the benefits of development, have higher levels of poverty and are more vulnerable to violence.
For development to be inclusive, it needs to have a human rights perspective that takes into account the specific characteristics of populations experiencing discrimination; such as LGBTTTI, afro-descendants, indigenous people, people with disabilities, sex workers, senior citizens, people deprive of their liberty, among others.
The exclusion of one segment of the population from the benefits of development not only is a violation of their human rights, but also impoverishes the social capital of nations as a whole. There can be no full development if LGBTTTI people are marginalized regarding their right to education, work, health, justice.
Harassment and bullying of gays, lesbians and trans children and youth in schools, and in some cases their direct exclusion from the school system, denies them the necessary skills for later integration into the labor market. When this is combined with discrimination in hiring and arbitrary terminations due to homophobic prejudices, the result is that a large number of citizens are prevented from exercising their rights in the workplace. The resulting poverty is particularly evident in the case of transsexual and transgender people who suffer extreme employment discrimination, and the lesbian, whose marginalization is aggravated by sexism that affects them as women.
Measures to prevent and punish employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity are essential for the achievement of full development. The States must also implement affirmative action policies by offering professional and technical training of the LGBTTTI population, in order to make more effective those policies aimed at incorporating all social groups in development plans.
Another area of great concern for the LGBTTTI communities that of is safety and violence, given that Latin America and the Caribbean remains the region with the highest number of hate crimes. The majority of the countries in the region neither recognizes nor punish violence motivated by homophobia/transphobia/lesbophobia, which increases the vulnerability of this social group as well as increases impunity. For trans people, the lack of legal recognition of their identity puts them in a situation of insecurity that further exposes them to violence-including thatcommitted bythe police-andimpedes theiraccessto justice.
Our collective expresses its concern for the invisibilization of LGBTTTI persons in the CARICOM countries and for their failure to assume their political responsibilities. The lack of recognition of their rights as citizens of this sector of the population not only affects their dignity and quality of life, but also further promotes social and economic marginalization as well as prevents their inclusion to the process of creation of human capital that are indispensable for individual development.
On the other hand, we wish to express our appreciation to Member States for the adoption of the Inter-American Convention against All Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance, and the Inter-American Convention against Racism, Racial Discrimination and Related Intolerance. We urge all countries of the region to join to these conventions, thus demonstrating their commitment to human rights of all citizens, without exception.
We similarly express our satisfaction to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights for the creation of a Rapporteurship for the Rights of the LGBTI Persons. We also reject any attack against the autonomy and independence of the Inter-American Commission.
We finally express our dismay at the intolerant speech and incitement to hatred by the fundamentalist sectors in Paraguay and other countries in the region, including some senior state officials, who openly continue to oppose the recognition of the rights of the LGBTTTI persons as included in the resolutions and conventions adopted by this organization.
In consideration of the above, we demand of the Member States:
1. Sign, ratify and execute the Inter-American Convention Against All Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance, and the Inter-American Convention against Racism, Racial Discrimination and Related Intolerance.
2. Adopt legislation and public policies in line with the commitments taken in the resolutions on Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, adoptedduring prior general assemblies.
3. Adopt measures that ensure access to justice, and guarantee due process for all persons, aiming to eradicate impunity, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.
4. Adopt comprehensive health strategies, with specific strategies for LGBTTTI populations, and particular emphasis on the unique needs of trans persons.
5. Revise legislative frameworks, repealing laws that criminalize sexual relations between individuals of the same sex.
6. Adopt laws that recognize the gender identity of trans people.
7. Eliminate medical procedures where intersex children are subjected to genital mutilation, and develop protocols based on human rights and respect for their gender identity.
8. Promote direct participation of LGBTTTI persons and civil society organizations in the dialogues, consultations, design, and preparation of national development plans.
9. That the CARICOM states, within the next two years, develop policies that meet the needs of LGBTI citizens and improve the mechanisms in the planning of the domestic policies to include services for LGBTI youth.
10. We urge Member States to provide financial resources, in the context of the Decade of Afro-Descendants, to implement actions that guarantee full development and restitution of rights and of LGBTI Afro-descendants of the Americas.
11. Consider the proposal for an Inter-American Convention of Sexual Rights and Reproductive Rights.
That the General Assembly:
Approve the draft resolution “Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression” presented by the Brazil delegation and the co-sponsoring countries, whose initiative we appreciate.
LGBTTTI Coalition Members at Coalition Meeting prior to OAS General Assembly in Paraguay