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Monday, 17 May 2010

New UK government recognises International Day Against Homophobia

By Paul Canning

Both the Home and Foreign and Commonwealth Office have released statements recognising the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO).

In Turkey, the British Embassy released a statement saying it was "proud to celebrate IDAHO with colleagues from many countries and the Turkish LGBT rights group KAOS GL!" On Friday 14 May Stuart Adam, its Head of Political Section, took part in the opening panel discussion at the Fifth International Conference Against Homophobia in Ankara.

The following day the Embassy co-hosted a reception in Ankara for diplomats, politicians, journalists and human rights activists. Later it monitored the gay pride march through Kizilay, a neighborhood of the Turkish capital.

Two years ago the Foreign Office adopted an official programme to support the human rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans people in other countries.

According to there was (unsourced) speculation "whether the custom would continue under the new Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government".

Conservative New Europe Minister David Lidington released a statement saying:
"The UK has a long and proud history of defending the basic rights and freedoms of the oppressed and vulnerable.

"We are committed to promoting British values overseas and to placing human rights at the heart of foreign policy.

"Everyone, including gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people should be free to enjoy the rights and freedoms to which people of all nations are entitled."
According to the Foreign Office website the Uzbekistan Embassy also published support for Idaho.

Home Office Minister Theresa May marked IDAHO saying:
"This government is committed to creating a society that is fair for everyone and supports equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people."

"This means supporting civil partnerships, tackling homophobic bullying wherever it occurs, changing the law regarding historic convictions for consensual gay sex and using our international influence to put pressure on countries where LGBT people are persecuted."

"‘These commitments show our determination to tear down the barriers that continue to hold people back."
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