Campaign Report 2012 – Peter Tatchell Foundation
Making an impact, helping defend human rights
The remit of the Peter Tatchell Foundation (PTF) is to promote human rights in the UK and throughout the world according to letter and spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international and regional human rights conventions and jurisprudence.
PTF campaign achievements
In mid 2010, we joined with others to help save from execution Ebrahim Hamidi, an Iranian teenager falsely accused of homosexual assault and later to stop the hanging of an Iranian Kurdish activist, Habibollah Latifi, who had been scheduled to be executed on 26 December 2010 after an unfair trial.
In the same year, for five months, PTF organised prison visits, food, medicine and clothing for Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza, while they were held in a Malawi prison after they held a same-sex engagement ceremony. Both men were eventually pardoned by the country’s President, following international pressure from the EU and UN.
We have been very effective in drawing world attention to the persecution suffered by Iran’s Sunni Muslims, trade unionists, women, students, gay people, human rights defenders and journalists, and by its Arab, Baluch, Azeri and Kurdish ethnic minorities.
The on-going Stop Murder Music campaign, partnered with J-Flag in Jamaica and OutRage! in London, has resulted in a huge reduction in the worldwide performance and broadcast of dancehall songs that incite homophobic prejudice and violence.
In 2011, pressure and lobbying, spearheaded by Peter Tatchell, succeeded in securing the first ever public commitment to LGBT rights by a Commonwealth Secretary General. Kamlesh Sharma declared that homophobic discrimination is incompatible with Commonwealth values.
In March 2010, Peter Tatchell spoke at a forum at the UN in Geneva to highlight the repression and human rights abuses in Pakistani-annexed and occupied Balochistan. His articles, interviews, speeches and protests have probably done more than anyone else to alert the world to the crimes against humanity that are happening at the hands of Pakistan’s security forces.
We have been working with Baloch nationalists and human rights defenders to help draft a Baloch Freedom Charter, which sets out an agenda for demilitarisation, a political settlement based on the right to self-determination and the humanitarian parameters of a self-governing Balochistan.
PTF has two main on-going UK campaigns:
Video against homophobia in football
PTF is working with the Football Association and Kick It Out to challenge homophobia in football through a range of policies and events; plus lobbying football authorities and news media re homophobic incidents involving players and fans.
We are also pitching independently to a celebrity backer to produce a MTV-style video challenging football homophobia. Featuring several top footballers (such as Beckham, Ronaldo, Ferdinand, James, Campbell, Rooney, Walcott, Cole) speaking out against homophobia, it will be intercut with goal-scoring images from football matches and have a feel-good music track by a big name artist. Our goal is an uplifting video with a cool anti-homophobia message that most fans, and young people in general, can relate to and enjoy. We calculate that we are more likely to win over fans with a hip, positive, joyful vibe video than with a pedagogic or finger-wagging style.
Such a video would be a world first and have a massive global impact. Especially if it includes big-name football stars, it would get international news coverage, as well as being broadcast on sport, music and youth TV programmes worldwide. We estimate that it would reach a global audience of over one billion people; helping to challenge homophobia internationally, both in football and among the wider public.
Within the UK, our plan is for the Football Association to promote the video and for clubs to show it on stadium screens at football grounds during pre-match and half-time. It would also be distributed to schools and junior football clubs. This video will have a huge gay-affirmative effect among football followers and among the wider youth population.
Our Equal Love campaign is seeking to repeal the twin bans on gay civil marriages and heterosexual civil partnerships in the UK.
In February 2011, Peter Tatchell helped organised eight couples (four gay and four straight) to file applications in the European Court of Human Rights, in a bid to end sexual orientation discrimination in marriage and partnership law.
In October 2011, the Prime Minister announced the government’s commitment to end the ban on same-sex civil marriage but ruled out the legalisation of heterosexual civil partnerships and religious same-sex marriages by faith organisations that wish to conduct them. Our bid for reform and equality will continue. We are confident of eventual success.
PTF has three main on-going international campaigns
General support work
We are publicising and supporting democracy and social justice movements in countries such as Iran, Uganda, Malawi, Iraq, Balochistan / Pakistan, Russia, Palestine, Nigeria and Zimbabwe. We are lobbying against human rights abuses in these countries, including both LGBT and non-LGBT abuses. This work includes alerting MPs and governments, securing media reportage of violations and working with activists on the ground.
The PTF is helping promote LGBT human rights in developing countries – which is the new frontline in the battle against homophobia and transphobia. We are working with the Commonwealth Secretariat, in particular the Human Rights Unit, to tackle human rights abuses in the member states, including the criminalisation of same-sex relationships in more than 40 of the 54 Commonwealth nations (which is more than half of the countries in the world that outlaw homosexuality). Our next phase involves meetings with government, media and ngo officials from Commonwealth countries that still criminalise same-sex relations, in a bid to build bridges and understanding; as a gateway to law reform.
China outreach and partnership
PTF is in the process of preparing a new outreach programme to LGBT people and networks in China – home to around 15% of all the LGBT people in the world - with whom (as far as we know) no other western organisations are working. Our intention is to act as a conduit: ¨ supporting Chinese LGBT initiatives and promoting LGBT ideas in China; as well as reporting Chinese LGBT news to the outside world.
My thanks to the PTF team - and to all our friends and supporters. Together, we make the change.
Peter Tatchell, PTF Director – 9 January 2012
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