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Coalition on Sexual Orientation Issues for LGBT people in Northern Ireland Issues for LGBT people in Northern Ireland Barry Fitzpatrick CoSO Management.

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Presentation on theme: "Coalition on Sexual Orientation Issues for LGBT people in Northern Ireland Issues for LGBT people in Northern Ireland Barry Fitzpatrick CoSO Management."— Presentation transcript:

1 Coalition on Sexual Orientation Issues for LGBT people in Northern Ireland Issues for LGBT people in Northern Ireland Barry Fitzpatrick CoSO Management Committee

2 Coalition on Sexual Orientation CoSOs remit CoSO was established in late 1998 to bring together LGBT groups in NI a) To represent LGB +T issues in consultative processes surrounding section 75 b) To campaign for LGBT rights in the Bill of Rights c) To campaign for LGBT rights in single equality legislation

3 Coalition on Sexual Orientation The state of play in 2001 SO in section 75 – equality schemes being approved ECNI producing 1 st paper on SEA NIHRC producing 1 st Consultation Document on BoR

4 Coalition on Sexual Orientation The state of LGBT rights in Equality schemes in operation for 6 years – Effectiveness Review by ECNI SO discrimination law in employment and training but also GFS, education, housing, performance of public functions Civil Partnership Act Specific homophobic hate crime law

5 Coalition on Sexual Orientation The BoR agenda From seeking rights to underpinning rights Inspiration from Yogyakarta Principles Inclusion of trans people – definition of gender identity Key issues: discrimination & abuse, protection of privacy, protection of civil partnerships

6 Coalition on Sexual Orientation The BoR agenda CoSO strategy: Mainstream LGBT rights into public policy and into BoR Mainstream SO equality, protect against homophobic abuse and promote specific provisions of relevance to LGBTs

7 Coalition on Sexual Orientation Specific issues Children & Young People: Formal recognition of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, including provisions on the voice of the child, in the Bill of Rights. Children & Young People: Formal recognition of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, including provisions on the voice of the child, in the Bill of Rights. Victims: A definition of victims wide enough to include victims of homophobic hate crime and other abuses of the human rights of LGBT people.

8 Coalition on Sexual Orientation Specific issues Economic & social rights: inclusion of education, housing, right to work, social protection Economic & social rights: inclusion of education, housing, right to work, social protection Education: A child-centred approach towards education rights, including recognition of the voice of the child. We do not want parents to be entitled to impose a homophobic environment on LGBT children and young people in the education system.

9 Coalition on Sexual Orientation Specific issues Culture & Identity: Recognition of SO and gender identity in the Bills definition of identity. Culture & Identity: Recognition of SO and gender identity in the Bills definition of identity. Inclusion of cultural communities. Democratic rights: which include full respect for the identity of all citizens, including in relation to SO and gender identity.

10 Coalition on Sexual Orientation Specific issues Family law: Inclusion of civil partnerships (and other partnerships) in right to marry. Family law: Inclusion of civil partnerships (and other partnerships) in right to marry. Inclusion of right to found a family. Freedom of religion and expression: A supplementary provision providing that freedom of religion also involves …to be free from coercion or imposition of beliefs. That freedom of thought and expression is not used to discriminate against LGBT people through discrimination and abuse

11 Coalition on Sexual Orientation Specific issues Preamble and Implementation: Preamble and Implementation: 1) Every person has the right to independent, impartial and confidential information, support and advice. 2) Every person has the right to advocacy and representation.

12 Coalition on Sexual Orientation Specific issues Preamble and Implementation: Preamble and Implementation: 3) Government has a duty to provide resources to support access to information, support, advocacy and representation services for every citizen. 3) Government has a duty to provide resources to support access to information, support, advocacy and representation services for every citizen. 4) NGOs and trade unions, as well as the NIHRC, should be able to bring cases in their own name in cases of human rights abuses.

13 Coalition on Sexual Orientation LGBT equality Equality clause: includes SO and gender identity (beyond gender reassignment) Equality clause: includes SO and gender identity (beyond gender reassignment) Section 75 – Framework Directive – EU Charter of Fundamental Rights – Yogyakarta principles – SO discrimination law in employment & GFS – recognition of SO as other status non-discrimination ground by European Court of Human Rights

14 Coalition on Sexual Orientation LGBT equality Equality clause: Equality clause: Mainstream equality clause into other provisions, eg criminal justice Possible inclusion of equality clause in Preamble Balance between LGBT rights and rights of others - that the case law of the European Court of Human Rights, on strict scrutiny of measures which discriminate, is respected.

15 Coalition on Sexual Orientation Protection from homophobic abuse On the basis of harassment provisions On the basis of harassment provisions or a right to dignity and physical integrity It is most important that environments such as the workplace, education, housing and care homes are covered. If necessary, the more serious examples of abuse, harassment and bullying, defined as being degrading, threatening or intimidating behaviour, must be included.

16 Coalition on Sexual Orientation From Formal rights but practical reality? Little prospect of SEA Judicial review of SO GFS Regs & resistance to LGBT rights in BoR No formal investigations in relation to SO and section 75 but significant impact on public policy Some SO cases but issues of anonymity in tribunals and courts Advocacy capacity in LGBT communities

17 Coalition on Sexual Orientation True and Substantive Equality & Human Rights for all People.


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