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(New York, November 5, 2007) – Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay will co-sponsor the New York event of the Yogyakarta Principles, a global charter for gay rights, at the United Nations on November 7, 2007, Human Rights Watch said today.

The Yogyakarta Principles, a landmark advance in the struggle to ensure basic human rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, were developed in response to well-documented patterns of abuse worldwide. These abuses, including rape, extrajudicial executions, torture, medical abuses, repression of free speech and assembly and discrimination in work, health, education, housing, access to justice and immigration, affect millions of people targeted for their actual or perceived sexual orientation.

“These Latin American governments are standing up to show that fundamental human rights apply to everyone, regardless of sexual identity,” said Boris Dittrich, advocacy director in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender program at Human Rights Watch. “The Yogyakarta Principles underline the fact that no one should face violence or discrimination because of whom they love, how they look, or who they are.”

Human Rights Watch urged UN member states to support the Yogyakarta Principles and end discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. An important first step would be to de-criminalize homosexuality in 77 countries that still penalize same-sex relationships and in the seven countries that could impose the death penalty.

Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson will address a side event on the principles, organized in parallel to the UN General Assembly. The forum, co-sponsored by Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, brings together nongovernmental organizations, UN representatives and state delegates for a discussion on the Yogyakarta Principles and the challenges of ending discrimination.

Other speakers include Federico Villegas Beltrán, director of Human Rights at Argentina’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Worship; Ana Lucy Cabral, director of the Department for Human Rights and Social Issues of the Brazilian Ministry of External Relations; Sonia Correa from the Brazilian Interdisciplinary AIDS Association and Sexuality Policy Watch; Philip Dayle from the International Commission of Jurists; and Miriam Maluwa, UNAIDS Country Coordinator for Jamaica, The Bahamas and Cuba.

The discussion is organized by ARC-International, the Center for Women’s
Global Leadership, Global Rights, Human Rights Watch, the International Commission of Jurists, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, International Lesbian and Gay Association, and International Service for Human Rights.

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