CIC Vancouver Event: Leaving No One Behind: Canada’s Role in Advancing LGBTQ2 Human Rights Globally

Sep 5, 2018 | Event Summary

On August 7, 2018, the Vancouver Branch of the Canadian International Council, in partnership with the Global Affairs Canada, Rainbow Refugee and the Vancouver Pride Society, hosted a discussion on LGBTQ2 human rights and inclusive development, featuring LGBTQ2 activists from around the world, UN representatives, and government officials. It came on the heels of the Equal Rights Coalition’s Global Conference on LGBTI Human Rights and Inclusive Development; the panel addressed discrimination, violence and persecution that LGBTQ2 communities around the world face, and provided an opportunity to reflect on how to advance the rights of LGBTQ2 communities worldwide. We were delighted to host this event at the Asia Pacific Hall at the Wosk Centre of Simon Fraser University.

The 7th CIC event of this year, we were pleased that this event featured Randy Boissonnault, MP, Special Adviser to the Prime Minister on LGBTQ2 Issues and Victor Madrigal-Borloz, United Nations Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity as well as three LGBTQ2 Human Rights experts from Latin America, Africa and Whitesands First Nation. All of the speakers examined different dimensions of the issues and potential ways for Canada to advance LGBTQ2 Human Rights globally. CIC Vancouver Branch President, Charles Dumbrille welcomed the speakers to the discussion on this critical issue in Canada’s Foreign Policy.

Key Takeaways

The Canadian Government has invested $9 million in international assistance projects that seek to protect LGBTI Human Rights. These include violence prevention programs, awareness campaigns, advocacy efforts – to name a few – and much of that funding has come through Global Affairs Canada. This effort supports government and grass root organizations to combat discrimination, violence and criminalization on a global scale. Additional government funding has been committed to further protect LGBTI people during a conflict and stabilizing post-conflict societies while advancing the rights of LGTBI communities.

It was pointed out that some Human Rights are more equal than others. In some parts of the world, the very existence of a LGBTI lifestyle deems to be criminal; the lifestyle either does not exist or is a Northern or Western trend. Seventy-two countries have a sentence ranging from six months to 25 years in jail for being a member of the LGBTI community. Other countries have their own conversion therapies, such as corrective rape or electric shock.

Three significant points to the UN mandate are to assess the implementation of existing international human rights instruments concerning to overcome violence and discrimination against the LGBTI community, all while identifying both best practices and gaps. The purpose of this is to raise awareness of violence and discrimination against the LGBTI community, and to identify and address the root causes of violence and discrimination; all of this while working in cooperation with States in order to foster the implementation of measures that contribute to the protection of all persons against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Near the end of the event, one LGBTQ2 Human Rights panelist was fearful to return to their home country. They emotionally stated that their spouse was in hiding while they were in Canada, and was afraid that she would have to move for the sixth time when they returned home.

Having national and global advisors come to Vancouver to speak to our Branch will be a hard act to follow, but the organizing partners involved are hoping to make this discussion an annual tradition. Below are social media links to the event, we hope you get a chance to listen to the speakers and become more informed on this global topic. We believe you will find the insights shared during the event thought provoking and hope you learn more about this pressing issue.

A pre-event interview with the Special Adviser to the Prime Minister, can be found here at the 1:27:10 mark

Video of the event can be found here.

Instagram photos from the event can be found here.

Twitter posts during the event can be found here.