Liberal Candidate Signs Kaleidoscope Trust’s Pledge to Advocate LGBTI Human Rights in Australian Foreign Policy
The Kaleidoscope Trust, a global human rights organisation dedicated to the human rights of LGBTI people internationally, today announced that Kevin Ekendahl, the Liberal candidate for Melbourne Ports in the upcoming election, has signed a pledge to advocate LGBTI rights in Australia's foreign relations. He does so in a personal capacity.
Australia has a strong part to play in upholding the rights of LGBTI people. Globally there are multinational diplomatic efforts around some of the worst cases of anti-LGBTI violence and criminalisation. Closer to home, in countries where Australia exercises substantial influence, there are still laws which discriminate against LGBTI people. In Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Palau, Cook Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Brunei, Bangladesh, The Maldives, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore and the Aceh province of Indonesia criminal laws prohibit consensual sexual activity between men, laws which the Toonen case found to be a violation of international human rights agreements. Toonen vs Australia was a landmark human rights complaint brought before the United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) by Tasmanian resident Nicholas Toonen in 1994 that resulted in the repeal of Australia's last remaining anti-sodomy laws. More widely in the region the law fails to protect LGBTI people from discrimination in employment, medical treatment, housing and goods and services.
Speaking for Kaleidoscope Trust in Australia, Douglas Pretsell said:
Wonderful to have Kevin as a Liberal candidate sign this pledge alongside the pledges we have already secured from the ALP and the Greens. We look forward to working with him to advance LGBTI human rights in the future.
Lance Price, Executive Director of the Kaleidoscope Trust added:
It is a significant achievement to have secured support for LGBTI rights in the Asia Pacific region from across the three main political parties in Australia. This all bodes well for Australia joining the growing number of countries now voicing opposition to legislation that criminalises people because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status.
The pledge that Kevin Ekendahl signed stated: "I make this solemn pledge to uphold and advocate the furtherance of LGBTI rights as a strong component of wider human rights through Australian foreign policy."