Saturday, 31 October 2009

PRESS RELEASE: Call to the President of Malta to withdraw the invitation to Pope Benedict XVI to visit Malta

Sejħa għall-President ta’ Malta biex jirtira l-istedina lill-Papa biex iżur Malta

His Excellency Dr George Abela, President of Malta

Dear Dr Abela

I would like to ask you to withdraw your invitation to Pope Benedict XVI (Josef Ratzinger) to visit Malta unless he withdraws his statements on gay and transgendered people.

On the 1st October 1986 Cardinal Ratzinger, then Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith sent a letter to all Bishops saying that it is understandable that hate-crimes against gays increase if they are awarded more civil rights.

"But the proper reaction to crimes committed against homosexual persons should not be to claim that the homosexual condition is not disordered. When such a claim is made and when homosexual activity is consequently condoned, or when civil legislation is introduced to protect behavior to which no one has any conceivable right, neither the Church nor society at large should be surprised when other distorted notions and practices gain ground, and irrational and violent reactions increase."

This is also echoed in his speech delivered on the 22nd December 2008 where he said that the blurring of gender leads to the auto-destruction of mankind.

"la Chiesa parla della natura dell'essere umano come uomo e donna e chiede che quest'ordine della creazione venga rispettato. Qui si tratta di fatto della fede nel Creatore e dell'ascolto del linguaggio della creazione, il cui disprezzo sarebbe un'autodistruzione dell'uomo e quindi una distruzione dell'opera stessa di Dio"

In his writings he regularly calls gay relationships a intrinsic moral evil and objectively disordered.

As a leader of an organisation representing more than 1 billion people his teachings spread homophobia and transphobia world-wide and justify and inspire innumerable hate-crimes against a minority whose only fault is being different.

I have sent a letter to Pope Benedict XVI clarifying that not all Maltese welcome him and invite him to make an apology so that we can also welcome him.

People who remain silent or apologise to such speeches are as guilty as a witness to a crime who fails to come forward.

I am not anti-clerical or anti-Catholic and wish we could live in a country where people not only tollerate different people, but they accept them too as long as they don’t impose .

I hope, Mr President that you will consider these thoughts in any decision you might take.

Yours faithfully

Dr Inġ. Patrick Attard

Friday, 30 October 2009

Times: Call for equal rights for all forms of family
Friday, 30th October 2009 by Claudia Calleja

Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

Religious beliefs should not influence decisions to enact laws giving equal rights to gay people because it is the role of parliamentarians to ensure there is no discrimination between citizens.

"We need the necessary legislation changes to ensure different forms of families are recognised as equal before the law, irrespective of sexual orientation... This is not about religion but basic human rights," Malta Gay Rights Movement coordinator Gabi Calleja said.

Ms Calleja echoed the words of Labour education spokesman Evarist Bartolo who insisted gay rights were human rights and the government should not adopt the argument that the country was not ready to uphold them.

"The time is now. Countries can afford to wait but life is too short for those men and women who just want to be treated like the heterosexuals around them," he said during a conference organised by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA-Europe).

His words were greeted with loud applause by activists from 49 countries who attended the annual conference that runs until Sunday.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Louis Galea, also stressed the importance of upholding the rights of everyone irrespective of their sexual orientation.

While he supported equal rights, Dr Galea said he was still "searching for the truth" about same-sex marriages. It was important that dialogue continued on various subjects such as the conflicts between religious beliefs and the interests of same-sex couples.

While Malta did not have a specific law for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people (LGBTs), he said rights were safeguarded through various laws that touched upon employment and gender equality, among other things.

But, Ms Calleja noted, addressing issues faced by LGBT specifically in legislation guaranteed protection and security and would help bring about a change in mentality.
President George Abela, who met the ILGA conference representatives on Wednesday, stressed the importance of information and education in tackling discrimination, increasing tolerance and accepting of differences.

In an effort to start changing ingrained misperceptions, four awareness-raising posters will be put up on Malta's bus stops to promote tolerance towards different types of families.

"We are asking for the recognition of what already exists. In Malta we have same-sex couples who live as a family," Ms Calleja said.

The posters - labelled Different Families, Same Love - highlight the challenges that LGBT families and their children face due to the lack of legal recognition.

[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on the Times' website.]

Thursday, 29 October 2009

ILGA Conference: Opening Address by Hon. Louis Galea

Department of Information (DOI) Malta – 29.10.2009; Press Release Number 1871


First of all I would like to thank the MGRM for inviting me to join you this morning at the beginning of this important ILGA-Europe Annual Conference, the 13th one in succession. I appreciate that you chose Malta for this event and we thank you for going through the effort and expense to do so. I have no doubt that MGRM have done a professional job in hosting you here and I am confident none of you will regret coming here and savour a bit of our identity, culture and hospitality. It is, therefore, with great pleasure that I warmly welcome you and wish you not only a most pleasant stay, but above all a most successful and productive conference.

I understand that apart from discussing various reports about the work ILGA-Europe did in the course of the year as well as an overview of relevant policy and constitutional issues for your better guidance in the near future, you also intend to reflect on the underlying theme you identified for this conference: “Overcoming Cultural and Religious Barriers to LGBT Equality”. In this context you will also be discussing sensitive sub-themes such as ‘Hate Crimes’, ‘Strategies on religious dialogue’, ‘Stigma and young people’, ‘Being a lesbian is no sin’, and ‘Law, secularism and the Catholic Church’.

Sexual orientation is a relatively recent notion in human rights law and practice and one of the controversial ones in many societies. Prejudices, negative stereotypes and discrimination are deeply embedded in our value system and patterns of behaviour as a result of the cultural and religious milieu in which we have been brought up and which has determined our view of life and the world around us.

I believe that the main principle guiding our human rights approach on sexual orientation refers to the fulfilment of human dignity through equality and non-discrimination. I also believe that Parliaments have a duty to ensure social justice and to guarantee the human dignity of lesbians, gays and bisexuals. Parliamentarians need to inform themselves objectively about the issues that surround sexual orientation and they need to avoid the attitude that gay people are claiming any ‘special’ or ‘additional’ rights. What we need to examine is the issue of the observance of the same rights as those of heterosexual persons. In such a discussion our point of departure needs to be Article One of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted some sixty years ago, which declares that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”. “ALL human beings”, no exception, whatever their sexual orientation.

The world has gradually accepted that individual human beings have different sexes, racial or ethnic origins, and religions, and that these differences must be respected and not be used as reasons for discrimination. But most countries are still facing difficulties in accepting two other aspects of human diversity: that people have different sexual orientations, different gender identities and that two women and two men can fall in love with each other; and that a person’s identity, as female or male, is not always determined by the type of body into which they were born.

Progress in the recognition and acceptance of these facets of human diversity is manifested in various international and regional treaties, conventions and declarations, amongst others, at United Nations level, the African Union, Council of Europe, especially with its 1950 Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, and the European Union. The latter has promulgated several Directives and Recommendations that offer protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation and is insisting on additional requirements in its negotiations with candidate accession countries in their situation referring to human rights.

In my view culture and religion are two phenomena with immensely complex and far reaching societal roots. Human history is replete with incredible suffering, injustices, tragedies, holocausts perpetrated on the pretext, misguided or otherwise, of different ethnicity, cultures and religions. And despite the solemn ‘never again’ utterances following such tragedies, we continue to witness, even in our days, diverse forms of discrimination in every society, some more notorious than others to the extent that they grab the national and international media headlines. But there is an even more pernicious type of discrimination, which may never catch such headlines, very often perpetrated in an insidious semantically soft manner as a result of ingrained cultural and religious traditions, customs, beliefs and pseudo beliefs. In such instances many show a discriminatory disposition and act accordingly, very often unknowingly, unconsciously, because they are misguided, directly or indirectly, by those who are expected to know much better. I say this to underline the fact that I find it easier to gather support against political, social or economic discrimination than to change discriminatory attitudes emanating from a cultural or religious mind set. So I can understand why this year you chose to emphasise the theme of equality for LGBT’s in the context of culture and religion.

Allow me to confess that I am no expert in the field or on the subject which you chose to focus upon. And although I quite often participate in the PRIDE annual march with genuine support for your right to full human dignity, equality and non-discrimination, I have to honestly declare that I am still searching for the truth on the issue of same-sex marriages. I am confident that all of you are capable of respecting such positions whilst continuing your search to engage in genuine dialogue to overcome misunderstandings, error, ignorance and prejudice, all of which still abound in many strata of our society. I fully support any dialogue process with faith-based institutions and public awareness-raising, as well as debates on the role of religion and beliefs, culture and social norms in overcoming discrimination on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

I believe that in recent years the Maltese society has started to inform itself better about LGBT issues and a lot of progress has been registered to attack forms of discrimination in this field.
In Malta we do not have any law which comprehensively regulates the field of equality specifically vis-à-vis LGBT’s. Malta’s Constitution and the European Convention of Fundamental Rights and Liberties, among many other fundamental rights, guarantee that all persons in Malta have “full freedom of conscience and enjoy the free exercise of their respective mode of religious worship”. Also every person in Malta is “entitled to the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual, that is to say, the right, whatever his race, place of origin, political opinions, colour, creed or sex, but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and for the public interest, to the established human rights.”

Our Equality for Men and Women Act (Chapter 456) and Regulations issued by means of Legal Notice 181/2008, transposing EU Council Directive 2004/113/EC, implement the principle of equal treatment between men and women in the access to goods and services and their supply.

The Employment and Industrial Relations Act (Chapter 452) and the Regulations issued by means of Legal Notice 461/2004, transposing EU Council Directive 2000/78/EC and 2000/43/EC, implement the principle of equal treatment in relation to employment by laying down minimum requirements to combat direct or indirect discriminatory treatment on the grounds of religion or religious belief, disability, age, sexual orientation, and racial or ethnic origin.

Coming to culture and religions, I find that these have tended to enforce a straight heterosexuality at the expense of any other sexual expressions. Although the direct influence of religion in secular society has receded from the government level, the spiritual and moral convictions of legislators necessarily influence, and rightly so, many areas of law-making. It is natural that beliefs and behaviour are intertwined. It is true that there are increasing trends towards tolerance. But, we also witness the serious fissures such changes are causing in the internal cohesion of different institutions, organisations and social groups, as is the case with, say, the Anglican Church.

One of your sub themes is entitled “Being a lesbian is no sin…” I believe that genuine and informed believers do not consider being gay as a sin. But this title brings to mind that tolerance towards sinners was one of Jesus' most controversial teachings, as was his preaching that those who consider themselves better than others should humble themselves and consider their inner situation. As Christians we should, like the Good Samaritan, help minorities attain equal rights even if those people don't have the same beliefs, let alone when they are members of the same social and religious community. Equality and anti-discrimination should be the prime rules of the Christian who loves his neighbour, and although there are gay-friendly Christian groups, we need to dialogue with the anti-gay Christian community so that these become more understanding and tolerant.

We need to overcome established prejudice. We need to reflect on and discuss the conflicts that may exist between freedom of religious beliefs and the interests of same-sex couples, and if they do, how to resolve those conflicts. We need to focus on the possible legal and policy ramifications that are inherent in the recognition of same-sex relationships. I do not believe that such a discussion ought to degenerate into an us-and-them situation, or in a case of ‘old ideas’ of religious freedom needing to conform with new ideas. Instead, we need to focus on how to protect the fullness of human dignity and the civil liberties for all people.

Independent: Largest European LGBT conference being held in Malta
29.10.9 by Elaine Attard

Around 300 persons from all over Europe and North African and Asian countries are participating in the ILGA-Europe conference being held in Malta, the largest ever held.

ILGA-Europe is the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association and works for equality and human rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people in Europe.

The Malta Gay Rights Movement (MGRM) is acting as the co-host of the event taking place at the Corinthia Marina Hotel, St George’s Bay, St Julian’s.

Along with the opening of the conference yesterday, MGRM launched an MGRM bus-shelter poster campaign funded by ILGA-Europe. The ILGA posters, which were translated into Maltese, portray different family styles. The aim of the campaign is to raise the profile of same-sex couples in Malta. The posters highlight the challenges which LGBT families and their children face due to the lack of legal recognition. The posters also highlight some positive development at European level towards legal recognition and acceptance of LGBT families and their children. The posters have already been displayed in various European countries.

MGRM spokesperson Bernard Muscat said the movement believes it is high time for Malta to stop ignoring the presence of same-sex families in Malta as if these did not exist and did not contribute to Maltese society in the same way opposite-sex couples do.

The ILGA-Europe conference is held every two years. MGRM had won the bid to hold this year’s conference titled “Overcoming Cultural Barriers to LGBT Equality” in Malta two years ago.

The conference will include a variety of plenary sessions and workshops to cover the human rights context. The content will cover in depth issues of culture, education, employment, social inclusion, religion, parenting and transgender issues.

L-Orizzont: L-imponiment tal-ideat

29.10.9 minn Byron Camilleri, GWU Youths

B’ħafna daqq ta’ trombi, il-mexxeja ta’ dan il-pajjiż jiftaħru li dan huwa pajjiż ħieles. Pajjiż fejn kulħadd għandu dritt jesprimi l-opinjonijiet, fehmiet u ideat tiegħu. Però, fl-aħħar mill-aħħar x’jieħu wieħed billi jesprimi l-ideat tiegħu jekk dawn ma jiġux imwettqin? X’inhu pożittiv fil-fatt li wieħed jiżvoga biss fl-espressjoni tal-fehmiet tiegħu?

Dan il-pajjiż mimli professuri tal-opinjoni. Kull min għandu ħalq biex jitkellem, pinna jew kompjuter biex jikteb, jew kull mezz ieħor ta’ komunikazjoni, jista’ jesprimi l-opinjoni tiegħu fil-beraħ. Il-gazzetti jkunu aktar mimlijin bil-fehmiet ta’ artikolisti u ittri lill-editur milli aħbarijiet. Dan forsi huwa riżultat ta’ pajjiż żgħir li fih ma jiġrux ħafna affarijiet ta’ kulljum u li l-gazzetti lokali huma limitati fir-riżorsi u l-baġits tagħhom.

Però fejn wieħed għandu jaqta’ linja bejn opinjoni, espressjoni ta’ ħsieb libera u espressjonijiet kontra l-libertà? Dawn il-professuri ta’ kollox, ħafna drabi tarahom jiktbu l-ittri lill-editur jitkelmu kontra ħaġa u favur oħra, u li wisq probabbli jkunu qegħdin jaraw sal-ponta ta’ mneħirhom.

Għalfejn għandu wieħed jitkellem kontra d-drittijiet ta’ persuni li tkun xi tkun id-deċiżjoni mhux se jkunu qegħdin jeffetwaw lilek bħala persuna u lanqas lis-soċjetà globali? Għalfejn għandek timponi l-ideat u l-fehmiet tiegħek dwar l-istil ta’ ħajja li persuna għandha tgħix? Għalfejn għandhom il-persuni l-oħrajn ikunu suġġett għal ħajja li ċertu persuni jaraw bħala l-ħajja ideali jew il-ħajja perfetta?

Madwar xahar ilu waqt li kont qiegħed nattendi konferenza tal-presidenza tal-Unjoni Ewropea fi Żvezja fi Stockholm, u d-diskors waqa fuq il-libertà tal-persuni. Meta semmejt li f’Malta wieħed ma jistax jiddivorzja iżda għandna biss leġislazzjoni bażwija li tiddiskrimina bejn min jiflaħ iħallas u bejn min le, daħqu bijja u ħasbu li qed niċċajta. Fid-dinja, Malta u l-Filippini biss għadhom ma lleġislawx favur id-divorzju.

Naħseb li għadna niddibattu dan is-suġġett minħabba raġuni ewlenija; li ċertu persuni ma jafux jagħmlu distinzjoni bejn stat u Knisja. Il-Knisja, li bla ebda dubju għad għandha ħafna saħħa fuq l-opinjoni pubblika, għandha kull dritt li tkun kontra, la darba jmur kontra t-tagħlim tagħha.

Wieħed irid jiftakar li l-Knisja hija reliġjon u mhux parti mill-istat. Argument li ma jreġġix, huwa dak li għax bid-dħul tad-divorzju, il-persuni ma jidħlux għaż-żwieġ bil-ħsieb li jibqgħu miżżewġin għal għomorhom iżda bil-ħsieb li meta jridu jistgħu jinħallu miż-żwieġ li daħlu fih.

Divorzju jbiddel biss l-istatus tal-persuna kkonċernata u m’għandux effett fuq is-soċjetà globali. Allura għalfejn għandna aħna nindaħlu fil-ħajja privata tal-persuni? Mhux biżżejjed li l-istat jintaxxana fuq kull azzjoni li nagħmlu, hemm bżonn li jindaħal x’nagħmlu fil-kamra tas-sodda wkoll?

Ngħaddi issa għall-kwistjoni ta’ żwieġ bejn koppji tal-istess sess. Kuntrarjament ta’ dak li ħafna jaħsbu, il-problema ta’ dawn il-persuni mhix dwar il-ħajja sesswali ta’ bejniethom jew jekk jadottawx it-tfal. Iżda l-problemi jduru dwar jekk il-‘partner’ ikollux dritt ikun preżenti meta l-persuna maħbuba għalihom tkun qiegħda fuq sodda tal-mewt jew waqt xi marda serja.

Problemi dwar wirt ta’ proprjetà li tkun inxtrat b’riżultat tal-imħabba ta’ bejniethom, benefiċċji soċjali li jgawdu minnhom koppji tradizzjonali u ħafna problemi oħrajn.

Problemi li nistgħu nsolvuhom jekk dan il-pajjiż jirrealizza li l-istatus ta’ persuna ma jeffetwax lis-soċjetà globalment u għalhekk dawn għandhom jitħallew fil-libertà kollha biex jagħmlu l-għażliet li jridu huma għall-ħajjithom.

Il-pajjiż u s-soċjetà m’għandhomx ikunu huma li jimponu stil ta’ ħajja lill-persuni l-oħrajn, iżda kulħadd għandu jkollu d-dritt jitħalla fil-libertà li jagħmel l-għażliet li hu jaħseb li huma l-aħjar, la darba d-deċiżjonijiet tiegħu ma jkunux kontra l-liġi jew jeffetwaw fin-negattiv lill-persuni l-oħrajn tas-soċjetà.

L-Orizzont: Tibda tiltaqa’ l-Konferenza Ewropea tal-ILGA

Madwar 300 delegat minn diversi pajjiżi Ewropej jinsabu f’pajjiżna biex jieħdu sehem fit-13-il konferenza annwali tal-fergħa Ewropea tal-International Lesbian and Gay Associacion (ILGA).

It-tema magħżula għal din il-konferenza, organizzata mill-Malta Gay Rights Movement (MGRM) hija “Negħlbu l-Barrieri Reliġjużi u Kulturali għall-Ugwaljanza LGBT”.

Dettalji dwar il-programm ta’ temi li se jkunu diskussi mil-lum sa nhar il-Ħadd li ġej ingħataw matul konferenza tal-aħbarijiet ftit tal-ħin wara li nfetħet uffiċjalment il-konferenza annwali.

Juris Lavrikovs, uffiċjal għoli mill-fergħa Ewropea tal-ILGA qal li din il-konferenza għandha toffri opportunitajiet tajbin għall-attivisti lesbjani, ‘gay’, bisesswali u transesswali minn madwar l-Ewropa biex jiddiskutu bejniethom il-problemi u l-isfidi li jiffaċċjaw, jaqsmu l-esperjenzi tagħhom flimkien u joħorġu b’suġġerimenti dwar kif l-awtoritajiet għandhom jindirizzaw diversi suġġetti li jolqtu lilhom direttament.

Il-koordinatur tal-MGRM Gabi Calleja qalet li din kienet sena eċitanti ħafna għall-moviment li għal dawn l-aħħar xhur kien impenjat bl-organizzazzjoni ta’ din il-konferenza.

Hija rringrazzjat lill-politiċi li se jkunu qegħdin jindirizzaw din il-konferenza kif ukoll lil min b’xi mod jew ieħor ikkontribwixxa biex dan l-avveniment seta’ jsir b’suċċess f’pajjiżna.

Gabi Calleja qalet li f’dawn il-jiem, l-MGRM kellha laqgħat ma’ diversi trejd-unjins Maltin.

Hija faħħret l-impenn tal-GWU li f’waħda mill-‘policy papers’ li nediet fil-ġimgħat li għaddew, titkellem dwar id-drittijiet fuq il-post tax-xogħol għal persuni lesbjani, ‘gay’, bisesswali u transesswali u tagħraf li kull persuna titwieled libera u għandu jkollha l-istess drittjiet u dinjità.

Waqt li l-konferenza tal-ILGA tinfetaħ illum, ilbieraħ infetħet il-konferenza dwar id-drittijiet tat-transesswali “Trans Rights Conference”.

Din hi l-akbar konferenza li qatt iltaqgħet fuq livell Ew-ropew biex ikunu diskussi problemi u sfidi li għadhom qegħdin iħabbtu wiċċhom magħhom persuni transesswali.

Il-konferenza indirizzat l-istituzzjonijiet Ewropej u l-programmi li dawn għandhom biex jindirizzaw id-diskrimi- nazzjoni fil-konfront ta’ persuni transesswali fis-snin li ġej-jin.

L-Orizzont: Il-President favur it-tolleranza


Il-President tar-Repubblika, Dr Ġorġ Abela saħaq favur aktar tolleranza u kontra kull tip ta’ diskriminazzjoni waqt laqgħa li kellu ma’ uffiċjali tal-bord eżekuttiv tal-fergħa Ewropea tal-International Lesbian and Gay Association, flimkien ma’ rappreżentanti mill-Malta Gay Rights Movement (MGRM), li bħalissa qegħdin jorganizzaw f’Malta t-13 Konferenza Annwali tal-ILGA-Europe u li għaliha qegħdin jattendu aktar minn 300 delegat mill-Ewropa kollha u lil hinn minnha.

Matul din il-laqgħa ta’ korteżija, il-President Abela semma l-importanza ta’ aktar tagħrif u edukazzjoni biex tkun ikkumbattuta d-diskriminazzjoni kif ukoll biex ikun hemm aktar tolleranza u aċċettazzjoni tad-differenzi li jeżistu. Huwa nnota l-progress li sar f’Malta biex ikun hemm aċċettazzjoni akbar ta’ persuni li huma f’minoranza f’dak li huwa orjentament sesswali.

L-Avukat Abela għamel ukoll riferenza għad-diskors inawgurali tiegħu fil-bidu tal-ħatra tiegħu bħala President ta’ Malta, fejn kien saħaq fuq l-importanza tal-inklussività u kkundanna d-diskriminazzjoni. Qal li meta f’dak id-diskors kien irrefera għall-minoritajiet u familji varji, hu kellu f’moħħu persuni LGBT. Il-President Abela saħaq fuq l-importanza tal-leġislazzjoni kontra d-diskriminazzjoni fl-impjiegi u fuq il-post tax-xogħol, waqt li qabel li s-sħubija ta’ Malta fl-Unjoni Ewropea kienet fattur pożittiv lejn dibattitu akbar u aktar wiesgħa dwar id-diversità. Dwar it-tema magħżula għal-Konferenza Annwali tal-ILGA-Europe – “Negħlbu l-Barrieri Reliġjużi u Kulturali għall-Ugwaljanza LGBT” – il-President Abela qal li hu jemmen li l-imħabba hija l-akbar valur u virtù, li ma tista’ tkun klassifikata skont l-orjentament sesswali.

Kelliem għal ILGA-Europe kellu kliem ta’ tifħir għall-merħba u l-korteżija li ntweriet magħhom mill-President Abela.

Din iż-żjara kellha wkoll sinfikat doppju billi kienet l-ewwel darba li kap ta’ stat iltaqa’ mar-rappreżentanti tal-ILGA-Europe waqt il-Konferenza Annwali tagħha.

Times: Brussels promotes condoms and clean needles to fight AIDS

Thursday, 29th October 2009 by Ivan Camilleri, Brussels

The European Commission has unveiled a five-year strategy to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS, saying condoms and clean needles are the best way to stop the spread of the disease.

“A correct and consistent use of condoms remains the most effective means of HIV prevention through sexual transmission and provision of sterile needles and injecting equipment and substitution treatment are the most effective means of HIV prevention through injecting drug use,” the Commission said in a communication to member states and the European Parliament.

Launching the new strategy in Brussels this week, Health Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou said the EU needed to continue the political momentum in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

“We need to encourage people to take responsibility for themselves and their partners by talking about and practising safe sex and going for HIV testing. However, this needs to go hand in hand with respect for human rights and non-discrimination of people living with HIV/AIDS. We have treatment options today that can delay the outbreak of AIDS for many years.”

The number of Europeans living with HIV and AIDS has increased at a worrying rate, from 1.5 million in 2001 to 2.2 million in 2007. About 730,000 of these live within the EU, with about 3,000 deaths reported each year.

In its strategy, the Commission is calling for a three-pronged approach based on improving prevention and testing, targeting high-risk groups, such as drug-users, homosexuals and immigrants, and focusing on those parts of Europe where AIDS has spread the most.

The Commission said efforts were needed to eliminate the stigma associated with the disease, which often prevented people from undergoing testing.

According to Commission figures, about 40 per cent of all new infections in the EU involve men having had sex with other men. About 30 per cent of HIV sufferers are unaware of the fact that they have contracted the virus.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

ILGA: President of Malta highlights the importance of love and condemns discrimination during a meeting with representatives of ILGA-Europe

MEDIA RELEASE: For immediate release
27 October 2009

Today, representatives of ILGA-Europe¹s executive board and staff met with His Excellency Dr George Abela, President of Malta. This meeting was facilitated by Malta Gay Rights Movement who is a co-host of the 13th ILGA-Europe¹s annual conference taking place this week in Malta.

During the meeting Dr George Abela highlighted the importance of information and education in tackling discrimination and increasing tolerance and acceptance of differences. He said there is definitely a progress in Malta regarding greater acceptance of people with minority sexual orientation.

Dr Abela, who became a President of Malta 6 months ago, also made a reference to his inaugural speech when he stressed the importance of inclusiveness and condemned discrimination. He said he had LGBT people specifically in mind when referring to minorities and various families during his inaugural speech.

President Abela stressed the important of anti-discrimination legislation in employment and agreed that Malta EU membership is a positive factor contributing towards greater debate on diversity and acceptance.

When asked to reflect on the theme of ILGA-Europe¹s conference in Malta ³Overcoming Cultural and Religious Barriers to LGBT Equality², President Abela said he believes love is the most important virtue and value and cannot be graded depending on sexual orientation.

The meeting took place in the presidential palace in a warm and welcoming atmosphere. This is the first time a head of state meets representatives of ILGA-Europe during its annual conference.

Group picture from that meeting will be available later. If you require such image, please e-mail your request to


For more information please contact
Juris Lavrikovs at + 32 496 708 375

Notes for editors:

(1) ILGA-Europe is the European Region of ILGA, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association and works for equality and human rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans & intersex people in Europe:

(2) More information about the Annual Conference in Malta is available on our website:

(3) This conference is organised in partnership with Malta Gay Rights

(4) Regular updates from the Annual Conference will be posted on our website and facebook page:

Di-ve: Campaign promotes acceptance of LGBT families

di-ve.comby -
Current Affairs -- 28 October 2009 -- 16:00CEST
ILGA-Europe, an association of over 200 European NGOs concerned with LGBT issues, will be holding its 2009 annual conference in Malta between October 29 and November 1, accompanied by a poster campaign urging for the legal recognition and acceptance of LGBT families and their children.

The conference is being organised in partnership with the Malta Gay Rights Movement.

Starting in Wednesday, and lasting for the duration of the conference, a number of posters from ILGA-Europe’s “Different Families, Same Love” campaign, translated into Maltese, will be displayed on bus stops throughout the country.

The posters aim to highlight the challenges faced by LGBT families and their children due to the lack of legal recognition, as well as positive developments which have occurred at the European level

“We are glad to see our family campaign posters being displayed in Malta. We hope that the images and short stories on the posters will make many people think and agree that all families regardless of partners’ and their children’s sexual orientation and gender identity deserve same respect, recognition and protection,” co-chair of ILGA-Europe executive board Linda Freimane commented.

MGRM spokesman Bernard Muscat said that the Maltese NGO believed that “it is high time for Malta to stop ignoring the presence of same-sex families in Malta as if they did not exist and did not contribute to Maltese society in the same way opposite-sex couples do.

“It is crucial to enact the necessary legislation changes to ensure that different forms of families are recognised as equal before the law, irrespective of the partners’ sexual orientation or gender identity.”


comment J Farrugia / 10/28/2009
Malta must not allow itself to be used by a tiny minority of nitwits. If they want to show themselves what they are its their business but we will not sell our morals for this tiny minority. The less they speak of themselves the better it will be for them. Remember mother Russia. And remember that God made them man and woman. All other forms are against nature and its divine call.

comment Arthur Barry / 10/28/2009
G & L will always remain the same. Immoral and anti social. God forbid if ever we have to adapt to these antisocial elements in our midst. They should not try to pride themselves with what they are. Let them live their own lives decently and not as we see them in the lions pride.

Times: Let God say what's right or wrong

Wednesday, 28th October 2009 by Archbishop Emeritus Joseph Mercieca

I was happy to see the title Majority Of Students Oppose Abortion (October 15). Unfortunately, however, when I went through the text of the same news item I could not help feeling disappointed and sad.

The report referred to the findings of what statistician Vincent Marmarà described as a scientific survey wherein 395 Maltese University students, randomly chosen, were asked to share their opinion about a number of hot issues.

The survey shows that the large majority of students interviewed, 78.7 per cent, reject abortion. However, 14.4 per cent express themselves in favour and another 6.8 per cent said they don't know.

Moreover, it turns out that, as regards divorce, 55 per cent of the students believe divorce should be introduced, as opposed to 33 per cent who were described as adamantly against.

We also read that the "progressive" student organisation MOVE disagreed with abortion but supported the introduction of divorce, gay marriage, cohabitation rights and condoms on campus and is still discussing its position on the morning-after pill.

This organisation encourages progressives to discuss issues "our conservative society" has been afraid to discuss.

The report quotes MOVE president Godfrey Galea saying: "Progressive is when you believe everyone has every right to live freely and equally without discrimination. Progressives believe everyone should have the right to choose and make their own decisions without anyone or anything imposing what should or should not be done. Progressives do not accept the status quo and believe change serves to renew".

During a debate it was also stated that the condom machine on campus was not only important to promote safe sex but was a symbol of the distinction that had to be made between the Church and the University, which was a secular education institution.

A view of the beliefs as pronounced by MOVE shows that this could be interpreted as an incorrect and wrong appreciation of the Church's views on sexual health education. In fact, MOVE spokesman Byron Camilleri said: "It was worrying Malta still had no sexual health policy and that the Church's views on sexual health education did not respect today's realities when, on average, people lost their virginity at 16".

Yet, it needs to be stated that what progressives appear to understand when they speak about the right to choose and decide what should or should not be done is a gross moral blunder.
However, these progressives bring to light an interesting side of the picture of our times: many young people are today passing through a new phase of social life. They are witnessing quick and deep changes in the milieu they are living; besides they feel they are the product of a more intelligent and creative mind and experience a deep sense of liberty as never before.

Many young people of our day have such a high sense of the dignity of the human person that they feel prompted to act more and more on their own judgment, enjoying and making use of a responsible freedom, not driven by coercion but motivated by a sense of duty.

This demand for freedom in human society regards chiefly the quest for the values proper to the human spirit; it regards, in the first place, the free exercise of religion in society.

Yet, it does not rarely happen that this kind of freedom is greatly and very often abused, as when people feel they can do everything that is pleasing to them notwithstanding that it is morally wrong.

It is dangerous to state that I have the right to do what my conscience tells me to do simply because my conscience tells me to do it or to act in this way. It is dangerous because, this way, in the end it is my conscience, and not the objective truth, which determines what is right or wrong, true or false.

In the presence of such beliefs, as upheld and proposed by the progressives, it would be very useful that these views of theirs be reconsidered in the light and the context of what we Christians hold that Almighty God declared openly to all mankind.

When Almighty God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and forbade them from eating fruit from a specific tree upon punishment of death, God made it clear that no person on earth has the power to decide what is wrong and what is right.

Indeed, no person on earth can ever usurp this power that belongs solely and exclusively to Almighty God.

By straying far from God's will our first parents fell into sin, that is, the wrong use of freedom. Yet, the heavenly Father did not forsake us; he sent his son Jesus to heal our wounded freedom and to restore the disfigured image, making it even more beautiful.

Victorious over sin and death, Jesus affirmed his lordship over the world and history. He is alive and invites us not to submit our personal freedom to any earthly power but only to him and to his almighty Father.

One's conscience must remain in obedience to the law of God, which is not always the easy way. One recognises the weight of the sacrifices and the burdens it can impose.

Heroism is sometimes called for in order to remain faithful to the requirements of the divine law.

I make my own Pope John Paul II's appeal way back in 2002 in Rome: "Young people of the new millennium, do not misuse your freedom! Do not lose the great dignity that God has conferred on you as his sons and daughters! Submit only to Christ, who wants your good and your true joy (cf. Mt 23, 8-10); to him, who wants you to be men and women who are perfectly happy and fulfilled! In this way you will find that only by following God's will can we be the light of the world and the salt of the earth!"

[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on the Times' website.]

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Times: The only thing we are totally against is abortion - SDM
Tuesday, 27th October 2009 by Christian Peregin

There is "no conflict" between the values of the majority of students and those of the Christian-democrat organisation elected to form the University Students' Council, according to the organisaton's president, Lauro Fava.

Mr Fava, who heads Studenti Demokristjani Maltin (SDM), was asked to react to a recent survey which found that the majority of University students did not oppose divorce, gay marriage, the morning-after pill, cohabitation rights and the introduction of a condom machine on campus.

The survey was conducted and published by a new "progressive" student organisation called Move, which said it too was in favour except on the morning-after pill, which it was still discussing.

The only thing that students were adamantly against (79 per cent) was abortion, which even Move disapproved of.

But even though the SDM is known for its traditional values, advocating Christian Democratic principles, Mr Fava said the only thing his organisation was completely opposed to was abortion.

He said divorce was a debate the country had to have but stressed the need to keep children in mind and to provide family-friendly measures which prepared people for marriage.

He added his organisation believed in the need for the state to regulate cohabiting couples, which may include civil unions between gay couples.

"But I don't think I would commit to the word marriage," he said.

On the condom issue, which has haunted students for the past 10 years but especially more recently, he said this was a "non-issue" and SDM was neither in favour nor against.

He said sexual education should take place in secondary schools, because by the time students came to University they knew what they should or should not do.

On the morning-after pill, he said this was being discussed internally. "If the pill is abortive then we are against it. But science is undecided about this. That's the only thing that's stopping us from saying we are in favour of it," he said.

In light of all this he was confident there was "no conflict" between SDM's values and those of the majority of students.

He added, however, that students did not elect SDM members into the students' council for the past three years just because of their values since there were other factors, such as their candidates, manifestoes and track-record.

He also had doubts about the methodology of the survey because it was carried out on random face-to-face interviews with around 400 students and he felt there could be flaws in this sample method.

Meanwhile, KSU president Carl Grech also questioned the sampling method but praised Move for their initiative and for a successful launch which got people talking.
When asked for KSU's stands on the various issues raised, he said the only official stand he knew of was the recently updated sexual health policy which focused on abstinence, being faithful and "contraceptives". The policy did not cover the condom machine issue.

He argued that all the talk about condoms had overshadowed more important educational issues like student mobility and University funding, but stopped short of saying it
was not a priority.

"If there are students who care so much about this issue, it is a priority, and it will be discussed in due time," he said, adding that a simple survey did not change anything as yet.

Asked about the other issues, he said KSU developed its policies through the Social Policy Commission, which brings together students from all active organisations to make their voices heard and come up with policies. "If someone raises the issues there, the policies would be made," he said.

[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on the Times' website.]

MaltaToday: Europe’s gay community tackles religion in Malta conference
25.10.9 by MATTHEW VELLA

The International Lesbian Gay Association’s (Europe) annual conference will convene in Malta for the very first time, where Malta’s gay community will play host to high-profile attendees such as former Italian MP Vladimir Luxoria.

The ILGA-Europe annual conference is organised every year in a different European country. In 2007, the Malta Gay Rights Movement decided to bid for the hosting of the 2009 conference, which is entitled “Overcoming Religious and Cultural Barriers to LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi- and transsexual) Equality”.

“It was felt that bringing such a high-calibre conference to Malta would encourage a more active discussion of gay issues, which are often cast aside in favour of less controversial ones. Being a proactive organisation, MGRM decided that instead of waiting for change to start happening on its own, organising the conference in Malta could help raise the profile of LGBT rights locally,” spokesperson Bernard Muscat told MaltaToday.

The conference will allow local Maltese participants to attend various workshops and discussion sessions taking place and interact directly with gay rights activists from all over Europe and beyond.

Participants will be addressed MEP Ulrike Lunacek, Vladimir Luxuria, Juris Calitis, pastor of the Anglican Church of Latvia, Francis Agius, head of Maltese delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, and Frits Huffnagel, Alderman of Hague City Council.

“The possibility to network with people facing similar barriers in other countries allows one to gain perspectives that are critical to the attainment of LGBT equality goals,” Muscat said.

Religion and culture will be tackled through the conference as two important determinants that directly influence the way a country deals with minority issues. Participants will share their experiences with regards to religious and cultural barriers faced in their countries.

“Participants from a mix of cultures and a number of religions will be present during the conference, with activists coming from as far as Kyrgyzstan, Armenia and Georgia. A number of participants from Northern Africa and the Middle East will also be participating,” Muscat said.

Political message

MGRM hope that the conference will send a direct message to political parties to get up to speed on minority rights. “The impression is that elected officials often lag behind the general public’s views on such issues. MGRM feels that a lot more needs to be done with regards to equality for LGBT people in Malta. It is no longer acceptable for local politicians to state they are against discrimination in the broad sense of the term, but then continue to ignore more direct discrimination faced by LGBT people,” Muscat said.

“The message that we want to put forward to the Maltese public – and not just by means of the conference, but every single day – is that LGBT people are equal to the heterosexual majority and should be treated as such. There is absolutely no reason to deny LGBT people rights and obligations that other segments of society take for granted.”

MGRM is currently involved in pressing for equal recognition from the State to same-sex couples as it does to opposite-sex ones. The group says it is not acceptable to continue to actively ignore the realities of same-sex couples as if these did not exist. “We would like there to be legal protection against discrimination in the provision of goods and services. For example, a same-sex couple cannot be denied the possibility to rent out a flat because the owner realises they are gay,” Muscat said.

In talks with political party representatives MGRM has also discussed the formal extension of the remit of National Commission for the Promotion of Equality to also include sexual orientation. The NCPE’s remit currently includes only race and gender issues.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Europa: A strategy for combating HIV/AIDS in the EU and neighbouring countries 2009-2013

[Europa is the portal site of the European Union]
26.10.9 Brussels

Today, the Commission has renewed its efforts to fight HIV/AIDS in the EU and neighbouring countries by adopting a strategy for the period 2009-2013. Effective HIV treatment exists but there is still no cure or vaccine against AIDS. The number of people living with HIV/AIDS in the EU and neighbouring countries has increased from 1.5 million in 2001 to 2.2 million in 2007. Approximately 730,000 of these people live in the EU. With 50 000 newly diagnosed HIV cases in the EU and the neighbouring countries alone in 2007, there is no time for complacency. Disparities exist between the numbers of HIV cases and the different modes of transmission across Europe. The strategy tackles these differences by concentrating on 3 key areas: HIV prevention and HIV testing, priority groups most at risk of HIV and priority regions. The strategy is accompanied by an action plan which illustrates concrete steps, target groups and evaluation tools that can be used to measure progress.

EU Health Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou said "We need to continue the political momentum in the fight against HIV/AIDS. We need to encourage people to take responsibility for themselves and their partners by talking about and practicing safe sex and going for HIV testing. However, this needs to go hand in hand with the respect for the human rights and non discrimination of people living with HIV/AIDS. We have treatment options today that can delay the outbreak of AIDS for many years''.

The overall objectives of this Strategy are: (i) to reduce new HIV infections across all European countries by 2013, (ii) to improve access to prevention, treatment, care and support and (iii) to improve the quality of life of people living with, affected by or most vulnerable to HIV/AIDS in the European Union and neighbouring countries. The strategy calls on all key actors including national authorities and NGOs to work on:

  • improving information for all, especially targeting young people who have missed the successful HIV communication campaigns in the past
  • addressing migrants from countries with a high prevalence of HIV to make them knowledgeable on preventing transmission, HIV testing and treatment options
  • improving policies targeting, in particular, the populations most at risk, emphasising human rights, and addressing discrimination and stigma associated to HIV/AIDS

Priority regions
HIV infections are particularly high in the neighbouring countries of the Union. Exchange of good practices on prevention, testing, treatment and care between countries is important. This is especially beneficial in times of budget constraints. The cooperation and know how transfer of doctors, nurses and public health experts as well as the sharing of quality data will help colleagues in neighbouring countries to improve evidence based prevention, state of the art testing and treatment services, and to improve surveillance. Such joint efforts will reduce new infections and improve the life of people living with HIV/AIDS and underline the value of good cooperation between neighbours.

Priority groups: most at risk populations
The strategy reiterates the fact that the biggest impact on the epidemic can be achieved when the situation of the most at risk populations is efficiently addressed. The major at risk populations in Europe are men having sex with men, accounting for about 40% of all new infections in the EU, migrants from high prevalence areas, and injecting drug users, with a share of up to 70% of all new infections in EU neighbouring countries. Tailor-made approaches to reach these groups are essential towards containing the epidemic in Europe.

Early testing and timely access to treatment save lives
Of particular concern is the high number of persons who are not aware of their infection. About 30% of people in the EU and up to 70% of people in several neighbouring countries do not know their HIV status. This presents a serious concern for policy makers. Late diagnosis usually leads to late treatment and hence to a reduced life expectancy, a lower quality of life and to an increased danger of transmitting the virus to partners.

The European Commission is involved in the fight against AIDS at European and Global levels. The first strategy on combating HIV/AIDS in the EU and neighbouring countries, adopted in 2005 laid the foundations for today’s updated strategy. A number of key achievements relate to a stronger political commitment, involvement of civil society at European level, the operational centralisation of HIV/AIDS surveillance by the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC), efforts to facilitate access to affordable antiretroviral medicines, funding of prevention projects and programmes, investments in research, and a close cooperation between partners.

More information:


L-Orizzont: Din il-gimgha tiltaqa’ f’Malta l-Konferenza Ewropea tal-ILGA
26.10.9 minn Sammy Sammut

Grazzi għall-ħidma sfiqa mwettqa minnu f’fora internazzjonali matul ix-xhur li għaddew, il-Malta Gay Rights Movement (MGRM) din il-gimgħa se jkun qed jagħti merħba lil aktar minn 265 delegat minn diversi pajjiżi Ewropej li se jkunu qegħdin jieħdu sehem fil-31 Konferenza Annwali tal-fergħa Ewropea tal-International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA).

It-tema magħżula għall-Konferenza ta’ din is-sena, li se tkun qiegħda tiltaqa’ bejn il-Ħamis, 29 ta’ Ottubru u l-Ħadd, l-1 ta’ Novembru, fil-Lukanda Corinthia Marina fil-Bajja ta’ San Ġorġ, San Ġiljan, hija "Ngħelbu l-Barrieri Reliġjużi u Kulturali għall-Ugwaljanza LGBT".

Il-Konferenza mhijiex sempliċi assemblea ġenerali annwali ta’ din l-għaqda Ewropea, fejn jittieħed kont tal-attivitajiet organizzati matul is-sena li għaddiet u jkun elett il-Bord Eżekuttiv il-ġdid, iżda toffri wkoll l-opportunità lil attivisti LGBT minn kull rokna tal-Ewropea u wkoll lil hinn minnha, biex jiddiskutu u jibdlu l-opinjonijiet u l-ħsibijiet tagħhom dwar firxa sħiħa ta’ suġġetti li jolqtu mill-qrib lill-persuni lesbjani, gay, bisesswali u transesswali.

Fil-fatt, wieħed mill-għanijiet ta’ din il-Konferenza Ewropea tal-ILGA huwa dak li l-attivisti LGBT jgħarblu problemi u sfidi komuni, jaqsmu l-esperjenzi tagħhom u flimkien jipprovaw jisiltu l-aħjar prattiċi biex ikomplu jikkumbattu d-diskriminazzjoni li għadha teżisti fl-Ewropa u fl-istess waqt javvanzaw il quddiem l-ugwaljanza u d-drittijiet umani tal-persuni LGBT. Dan jsir billi waqt li janalizzaw l-iżviluppi u l-kisbiet li saru matul it-tnax-il xahar li għaddew, jfasslu proġetti, strateġiji u tattiċi futuri.

Konformi mat-tema magħzula għal din is-sena, matul is-sessjonijiet plenarji u aktar minn tletin workshop differenti li sejrin jiltaqgħu matul l-erbat’ijiem tal-Konferenza, id-delegati Ewropej tal-ILGA sejrin ikunu qegħdin jiddjalogaw ma’ rappreżentanti ta’ istituzzjonijiet reliġjuzi u kulturali diversi bil-għan li tkun megħluba d-diskriminazzjoni bbażata fuq l-orjentament sesswali, l-identità tal-ġeneru u l-espressjoni tal-ġeneru. Attenzjoni patikolari se tingħata wkoll ghar-reati tal-mibgħeda u d-drittijiet ta’ minoranzi, kif ukoll kwistjonijiet kulturali u oħrajn li jolqtu l-edukazzjoni, ix-xoghol, l-inklużjoni soċjali, ir-reliġjon u anke s-servizzi tas-saħħa.

Għal din il-Konferenza diġa kkonfermaw il-parteċipazzjoni tagħhom uffiċjali mill-Unjoni Ewropea u mill-Organizzazzjoni Ewropea ghas-Sigurtà u l-Koperazzjoni (OSCE), kif ukoll rappreżentanti tal-Gvern Skoċċiz u Olandiz, flimkien ma’ persuni akkademiċi minn Spanja u r-Renju Unit.

Kontribut importanti ser jingħata minn għadd ta’ personalitjiet distinti li sejrin jindirizzaw lid-delegati u jieħdu sehem f’workshops differenti. Dawn jinkludu lill-Membru Parlamentari Ewropew Ulrike Lunacek, l-ex Membru Parlamentri Taljan u ġurnalist, Vladimir Luxuria, Juris Callitis li huwa pastor tal-Knisja Anglikana fil-Latvja, il-Kap tad-Delegazzjoni Maltija għall-Assemblea Parlamentari tal-Kunsill tal-Ewropa, it-Tabib Francis Agius u s-Sindku tal-belt ta’ The Hague, Frits Huffnagel.
Ġurnata qabel tibda l-Konferenza Annwali tal-ILGA Europe - nhar il-Ħamis, 28 ta’ Ottubru se tiltaqa’ konferenza ohra 'TransEurope’ li se tkun l-akbar waħda li qatt iltaqgħet fuq livell Ewropew biex ikunu diskussi problemi u sfidi li għadhom qegħdin iħabbtu wiċċhom magħhom persuni transesswali.

Tul din il-Konferenza se tingħata ħarsa lejn l-iżviluppi politiċi u leġislattivi li kien hemm kemm fuq livell Ewropew kif ukoll dawk nazzjonali, waqt li jkunu mfasslin l-aħjar prattiċi li għandhom ikunu adottati bil-għan li tkompli tkun miġġielda d-diskriminazzjoni u tinkiseb l-ugwaljanza. Apparti l-Konferenza, sejrin jittellgħu rappreżentazzjoni teatrali u wirja fotografika fiċ-Ċentru tal-Kreattività tal-Kavallier ta’ San Ġakbu.

Persuni mill-komunità LGBT Maltija kif ukoll oħrajn interessati fid-drittijiet LGBT interessati li jattendu, jistgħu jiksbu aktar tagħrif u dettalji mis-sit:

Sunday, 25 October 2009

It-Torċa: Il-ħarsien tad-drittijiet umani tal-persuni LGBT: Politika ta’ żewġ uċuħ

25.10.9 minn Sammy Sammut

Hawn min jiddeskriviha ‘diplomazija’ iżda ħafna aktar isejħulha politika ta’ żewġ uċuħ dik adottata mill-Gvern Malti fejn jidħlu d-drittijiet umani tal-persuni lesbjani, gay, bisesswali u transesswali (LGBT) f’pajjiżna. Għax waqt li fil-pubbliku jew quddiem il-kameras tat-televiżjoni, speċjalment meta tkun fil-qrib xi elezzjoni, nisimgħu ħafna kontra d-diskriminazzjoni li ħafna għadhom ibatu, bl-unika raġuni tkun l-orjentazzjoni sesswali jew l-identità tal-ġeneru tagħhom, l-istess nies malajr ibiddlu d-diska f’fora internazzjonali, li b’kumbinazzjoni qatt ma jkunu rrapportati fuq il-mezzi tax-xandir tal-iStat.

Prova oħra ta’ din il-verità tal-fatti ngħatat fil-jiem li għaddew, meta membri tal-Malta Gay Rights Movement inġabru quddiem il-bini tal-Parlament fejn qassmu ittra miftuħa lir-rappreżentanti tal-poplu li kienu deħlin għas-seduta par-lamentari biex jiġbdulhom l-attenzjoni tagħhom għad-dis-kriminazzjoni li familji LGBT għadhom isofru minħabba n-nuqqas tar-rikonoxximent legali tas-sħubija bejn persuni tal-istess sess.

Familji LGBT jagħmlu parti mill-ħajja ta’ kuljum fl-erbat irjieħ tad-dinja u diversi pajjiżi llum jirrikonoxxu din ir-realtà, tant li ħolqu qafas legali ta’ drittijiet u obbligazzjonijiet li jifformalizzaw ir-relazzjonijiet ta’ familji LGBT. Saħansitra ż-żwieġ issa huwa possibbli għal koppji tal-istess sess fil-Bel-ġju, fi Spanja, fl-Olanda, fil-Ka-nada, fl-Afrika t’Isfel, fin-Norveġja, fl-Isvezja kif ukoll f’għadd ta’ stati fl-Amerka, waqt li f’oħrajn jeżisti rikonoxximent ta’ forom oħrajn ta’ sħubija ċivili bejn koppji simili.

Għadhom diskriminati

Minkejja dan kollu, jekk ma jagħżlux jew ikunu kostretti li jeżiljaw ruħhom, il-familji LGBT f’pajjiżna għadhom iku-nu ddiskriminati, emarġinati u soċjalment esklużi. U dan kollu qed jitħalla jitkompla minkejja li nafu kemm jistgħu jkunu devastanti l-implikazzjonijiet li wieħed ikollu l-aktar relaz-zjonijiet importanti u intimi tiegħu mal-persuna li jħobb, miżmumin ‘il barra minn qafas ta’ protezzjoni u regolamentazzjoni legali.

Fl-ittra tiegħu, li magħha kellha mehmuż id-diskors li kien għamel il-Prim Ministru Spanjol, Josè Luis Rodrìguez Zapatero, meta ressaq għall-approvazzjoni tas-Senat l-ab-bozz ta’ liġi li jemenda l-Kodiċi Ċivili biex koppji tal-istess sess jingħataw id-dritt li jidħlu f’kuntratt taż-żwieġ, il-MGRM appella lid-deputati parlamentari Maltin biex permezz ta’ leġiżlazzjoni adegwata jsewwu l-inġustizzji li għadhom isofru f’pajjiżna familji LGBT b’mod li dawn jibdew ikunu trattati bħal familji tradizzjonali bid-drittijiet u l-obbligazzjonijiet li dan iġib miegħu.

Minkejja li preżenti ma kienx hemm il-kameras tal-is-tazzjon statali – għax bħal don-nu li kull attività li ssir b’risq persuni LGBT għall-PBS mhux ta’ min jirrapportaha – id-de-putati parlamentari kollha kie-nu ġentili mal-uffiċjali tal-MGRM. Fost dawn kien hemm il-Prim Ministru Lawrence Gonzi li mhux biss aċċetta l-ittra mogħtija lilu iżda bit-tbis-sima solita tiegħu rringrazzja lill-attivisti tal-MGRM u sa-ħansitra awguralhom għal ħidmithom.

F’din l-imġiba tal-Prim Mi-nistru ma kien hemm xejn ħażin, anzi ta’ min ifaħħarha, anke jekk forsi kienet għal wiċċ il-membri tal-midja preżenti. Il-ħażin hu li l-Onor Gonzi naqas milli jinforma lill-istess uffiċjali tal-MGRM li fl-istess ġurnata f’Ġinevra kien qed jiltaqa’ l-Kunsill tal-Ġnus Magħquda għad-Drittijiet Umani fit-tnax-il sessjoni regolari tiegħu, fejn bejn erba’ ħitan u ‘l bogħod mill-għajn, ir-rappreżentanti tiegħu ddik-jaraw diversi drabi li l-gvern Malti mhuwiex lest li jiċċaqlaq mill-pożizzjoni riġida tiegħu, waqt li kienu injorati r-rakko-mandazzjonijiet li saru minn diversi pajjiżi biex Malta tieħu aktar miżuri biex tkun miġ-ġielda d-diskriminazzjoni li għadha qiegħda ssir kontra persuni LGBT minħabba l-or-jentazzjoni sesswali u l-identità tal-ġeneru tagħhom.

Żewġ uċuħ

Hija politika taż-żewġ uċuħ dik li fl-istess waqt li l-Prim Ministru jifraħ u jawgura lill-Malta Gay Rights Movement għal ħidmithom b’risq it-tħaris tad-drittijiet umani li għandu jkollhom familji LGBT, ir-rap-preżentanti tiegħu kienu qiegħdin jisħqu fil-Kunsill għad-Drittijiet Umani li għall-gvern Malti “iż-żwieġ jista’ biss isir bejn persuni ta’ sess oppost u li m’hemm l-ebda ħsieb li dan jinbidel”.

Il-gvern ta’ Lawrence Gonzi xejn mhu mħasseb bin-nuqqas tat-tħaris tad-drittijiet fundamentali ta’ persuni LGBT għax skont ir-rappreżentanti tiegħu “l-ikbar sfida għal Malta huma l-wasliet bla tmiem ta’ immigranti rregolari”, u l-kuxjenza tiegħu hija nadifa għax “id-diskriminazzjoni bbażata fuq l-identità tal-ġeneru u l-orjentazzjoni sesswali hija llegali u individwi huma protetti kon-tra diskriminazzjoni bħal din bl-istituzzjonijiet imwaqqfin mill-istat.”

Iżda dawn id-dikjarazzjonijiet retoriċi donnhom li xejn ma ssodisfaw lil ħafna mill-31 delegazzjoni li ħadu sehem fid-djalogu interattiv li sar fil-Kun-sill għad-Drittijiet Umani tal-Ġnus Magħquda dwar ir-rap-port tal-gvern Malti dwar l-andament tat-tħaris tad-dritti-jiet umani f’pajjiżna. Kienu ħafna l-interventi u r-rakko-mandazzjonijiet li saru, iżda għal-lum se nillimitaw ruħna għal dawk li jolqtu mill-qrib id-drittijiet fundamental tal-persuni LGBT.

Fost oħrajn, id-delegazzjoni Franċiża staqsiet xi pjani hemm għat-tisħiħ tal-arranġamenti legali eżistenti kontra d-diskri-minazzjoni bbażata fuq l-orjentazzjoni sesswali u l-identità tal-ġeneru, partikolarment fl-oqsma tal-edukazzjoni, tas-saħħa u fuq il-post tax-xogħol. Irrakkomandat, fost oħrajn, li jkunu provduti arranġamenti għal koppji tal-istess sess biex igawdu l-istess drittijiet u obbligazzjonijiet gawduti minn koppji ta’ sess oppost.

Id-delegazzjoni Maltija wieġbet li l-gvern Malti jħoss li jekk jilleġiżlax jew le biex jir-rikonoxxi r-relazzjoni bejn żewġ persuni, irrispettivament mis-sess tagħhom, għandha tibqa’ materja ta’ kompetenza nazzjonali li tkun deċiża min-nu biss.

Rapporti ripetuti

Kien hemm ukoll id-dele-gazzjoni Olandiża li waqt li laqgħet l-isforzi ta’ Malta biex tkun miġġielda d-diskriminazzjoni fuq il-bażi tal-or-jentament sesswali, innotat r-rapporti ripetuti dwar diskriminazzjoni kontinwa f’dan ir-rigward, kif ukoll iċ-ċaħda għar-rikonoxximent legali tal-koppji tal-istess sess. Irrakkomandat aktar miżuri għall-avvanz tal-ugwaljanza fuq il-bażi tal-orjentazzjoni sesswali u l-identità tal-ġeneru, billi fost oħran jintużaw il-prinċipji ta’ Yogyakarta bħala gwida għal politika simili.

Ta’ min jgħid li dawn il-prinċipji kienu mfasslin minn esperti internazzjonali tad-drittijiet tal-bniedem fuq l-ap-plikazzjoni tal-liġi internazzjonali dwar id-drittijiet umani fir-rigward tal-orjentazzjoni sesswali u l-identità tal-ġeneru. Kull wieħed minn dawn il-prinċipji, li llum il-ġurnata jgawdu l-appoġġ ta’ diversi pajjiżi u organizzazzjonijiet internazzjonali bħalma hija l-Ġnus Magħquda, jirrappreżentaw l-abbużi u s-sofferenzi f’termini legali li ħafna għad-hom ibatu minħabba l-orjen-tament sesswali attwali jew maħsub tagħhom.

Iżda dwar dan, id-delegaz-zjoni Maltija wieġbet biss li l-gvern Malti mhux lest li juża l-Prinċipji ta’ Yogyakarta sem-pliċiment “għax dawn huma prinċipji li kienu diskussi u adottati minn għadd ta’ esperti li kienu qiegħdin jaġixxu fil-kwalità personali tagħhom.”

Edukazzjoni sesswali

Kien hemm ukoll delegazzjonijiet ta’ pajjiżi li saħqu fuq il-ħtieġa ta’ politika nazzjonali dwar l-edukazzjoni sesswali għax din hija kruċjali biex iku-nu realizzati d-drittijiet umani; biex Malta jkollha leġiżlazzjoni li tinkorpora l-istrumenti kollha internazzjonali dwar id-drittijiet umani kif ukoll li d-drittijiet tal-bniedem ikunu mgħallmin speċjalment fl-iskejjel; biex isiru sforzi akbar kontra l-persistenza ta’ sterjo-tipi tradizzjonali f’irwoli tal-identità tal-ġeneru; li ssir ħid-ma għal aktar konverġenza bejn il-leġiżlazzjoni nazzjonali u l-istrumenti internazzjonali dwar id-drittijiet umani li Malta tagħmel parti minnhom.

Ir-Repubblika Ċeka rrak-komandat lil Malta biex tadot-ta aktar miżuri biex tkun miġ-ġielda d-diskriminazzjoni u għall-promozzjoni – anke per-mezz ta’ kampanji pubbliċi – tat-tħaris tad-drittijiet umani ta’ kull persuna f’minorità fost-hom barranin, refuġjati, per-suni b’diżabilità u persuni LGBT. Fost oħrajn, l-Indja rrak-komandat li waqt li Malta għandha tkompli teżerċita d-dritt sovran fl-implimentazzjoni tal-liġijiet tagħha, hi għandha tagħmel dan b’kon-formità mal-istandards u n-normi internazzjoni tad-drit-tijiet umani.

Jidher li kienu biss id-dele-gazzjonijiet tas-Santa Sede u tal-Bangladesh – li kulħadd jaf il-pożizzjoni riġida tagħhom fejn jidħlu d-drittijiet ta’ per-suni LGBT – li faħħru bil-mif-tuħ lill-gvern Malti “għad-di-fiża tiegħu lill-familja bħala l-unit naturali u fundamentali tas-soċjetà bbażata fuq ir-relaz-zjoni stabbli bejn raġel u ma-ra.” Għal dan it-tifħir, id-de-legazzjoni Maltija tenniet li “ż-żwieġ jista’ jkun ikkuntrattwat biss bejn persuni ta’ sess op-post u m’hemm l-ebda pjani biex dan jinbidel.”

Xorta għadhom diskriminati...

Iżda bħal donnha ma wieġbet xejn għal dak li qalet id-delegazzjoni Belġjana li dwar id-drittijiet tal-persuni LGBT innotat li waqt li teżisti protezzjoni legali fejn jidħol ix-xogħol, dawn il-persuni xorta għadhom ikunu diskriminati fuq il-post tax-xogħol, fl-aċċess ta’ prodotti u servizzi, kif ukoll fl-oqsma tas-saħħa u l-edukazzjoni. Ħeġġet ukoll biex il-Kummissjoni għall-Promozzjoni tal-Ugwaljanza – li bħa-lissa l-orjentament sesswali u l-identità tal-ġeneru ma jaqgħux taħt ir-remit tagħha – tassigura li tagħti attenzjoni ugwali għal kull forma ta’ diskriminazzjoni, tkun xi tkun ir-raġuni li għaliha ssir. Irrakkomandat ukoll biex Malta tagħmel dak kollu possibbli biex tikkum-batti kull forma ta’ diskriminazzjoni, inkluż dik ibbażata fuq l-orjentazzjoni sesswali.

Fl-istess waqt, kienu diversi d-delegazzjonijiet li esprimew tħassib għall-fatt li Malta kie-net ilha snin sħaħ ma tressaq ir-rapporti quddiem il-Kunsill għad-Drittijiet Umani dwar l-andament tad-drittijiet umani f’pajjiżna, bid-delegazzjoni Maltija twieġeb li waqgħet lura f’dan l-obbligu billi kien hemm wisq xi jsir matul il-proċess għas-sħubija ta’ Malta fl-Un-joni Ewropea. Kien sostnut però li “bid-dħul ta’ Malta fl-UE fl-2004, it-tħaris tad-drit-tijiet tal-bniedem f’Malta ssaħ-ħaħ bl-aċċettazzjoni tal-ġuris-dizzjoni tal-istituzzjonijiet tal-Unjoni Ewropea.”

Minkejja dan, però, kienu diversi d-delegazzjonijiet bar-ranin li rrakkomandaw li Mal-ta tistudja l-possibbiltà li tistab-bilixxi istituzzjoni naz-zjonali għad-drittijiet umani li tkun akkreditata mill-Kumitat għall-Koordinazzjoni Internazzjonali tal-Istituzzjonijiet Naz-zjonali għall-Protezzjoni u l-Promozzjoni tad-Drittijiet Umani, skont il-Prinċipji ta’ Pariġi.

Fit-tweġiba tagħha, id-de-legazzjoni Maltija qalet li fid-dawl tal-għadd ta’ istituzzjonijiet li għandha stabbiliti, Malta ma tħossx il-ħtieġa li jkollha awtorità distinta li tim-monitorja t-tħaris tad-drittijiet tal-bniedem. “Proċeduri ġu-dizzjarji effettivi, huma prefe-ruti minn istituzzjoni għad-drittijiet tal-bniedem,” saħqet id-delegazzjoni waqt li qalet li l-kwistjoni tinżamm “kontin-wament taħt il-lenti.”

Apparti mid-delegazzjonijiet ta’ pajjiżi differenti, saru wkoll interventi minn diversi għaqdiet u organizzazzjonijiet mis-soċjetà ċivili, fosthom mill-fergħa Ewropea tal-International Lesbian and Gay Fede-ration (ILGA-Europe) flimkien mal-Canadian HIV/Aids Legal Network u l-Federatie Van Netherlandse Verenigingen Tot Integratie Van Homoseksualiteit Coc Nederland.


Dawn irrakkomandaw fost oħrajn li Malta tadotta aktar miżuri biex tikkumbatti d-dis-kriminazzjoni fuq il-bażi tal-orjentazzjoni sesswali u l-iden-tità tal-ġeneru.

B’mod partikolari, huma ħeġġew lil Malta biex tieħu passi konkreti biex tassigura li tkun żviluppata politika li tassigura lill-koppji tal-istess sess it-tgawdija ta’ drittijiet u obbligazzjonijiet indaqs, kif ukoll bidla fl-istatus legali ta’ persuni transesswali, u anke li persuni lesbjani, gay u bisesswali jkollhom aċċess effettiv għal servizzi ta’ pariri dwar is-saħħa.

L-istess għaqdiet irrakkomandaw li Malta tinkludi b’mod espliċitu l-orjentament sesswali u l-identità tal-ġeneru fil-politika dwar is-saħħa ses-swali li qiegħda tkun imfassla, kif ukoll li tinvolvi organizzazzjonijiet tas-soċjetà ċivili fl-iż-vilupp, l-eżekuzzjoni u l-eval-wazzjoni ta’ dawn il-prog-rammi.

Dwar dan kollu, it-tweġiba tad-delegazzjoni Maltija kienet li ma kienx hemm aktar x’iżżid ħlief li ttenni l-impenn ta’ Mal-ta għall-promozzjoni u l-pro-tezzjoni tad-drittijiet umani bl-aħjar abbiltà tagħha, u sa fejn tista’ twettaq l-obbligazzjonijiet internazzjonali tagħha. Saret enfasi li jeżistu diversi liġijiet li jikkumbattu d-diskri-minazzjoni iżda qiegħda ssir enfasi fuq it-taħriġ ta’ gruppi u organizzazzjonijiet pubbliċi, privati u volontarji biex kull diskriminazzjoni tintemm.

Bejn il-kliem u l-fatti....

Iżda kif jgħid il-Malti: bejn il-kliem u l-fatti hemm baħar jikkumbatti. U l-politika b’żewġ uċuħ li miexi biha l-gvern nazzjonalista fejn jidħlu d-drittijiet tal-persuni lesbjani, gay, bisesswali u transesswali, xejn ma tawgura futur aħjar mill-passat li ssarraf f’tant tbatija u sofferenzi għal ħafna, bl-uniku ‘tort’ li jista’ jkollhom ikun l-orjentament sesswali u l-identità tal-ġeneru tagħhom.

Nemmnu li fid-dawl ta’ dan kollu, l-oppożizzjoni laburista tista’ tkun katalista u aktar proattiva billi wara d-dikjarazzjonijiet pubbliċi, inklużi dawk tal-mexxej laburista Joseph Muscat b’difiża għad-drittijiet fundamentali tal-persuni LGBT, toħroġ b’miżuri kon-kreti kif dawn id-drittijiet umani jistgħu jkunu mħarsin u gawduti aktar, kif ukoll għall-inklużjoni ta’ kull persuna fl-iżvilupp tas-soċjetà Maltija rrispettivament mill-orjentament sesswali, l-identità tal-ġeneru jew karatteristiċi oħrajn.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Times: Elderly man gets jail for sexual acts with boy, 17

Friday, 23rd October 2009

A 62-year-old man has been sentenced to a year in jail after he admitted to performing sexual acts with a 17-year-old boy.

The man, Gilbert D’Ugo, would start by showing the boy pornographic films and then move on to solicit sex from him in return for payment.

The sexual acts took place at least 10 times in 2008 and in previous years.

Magistrate Jacqueline Pado vani described the case as a serious one. But before sentencing Mr D’Ugo, she took into consideration the fact that he had a clean police record and that the boy had “several sexual experiences preceding this case”. Mr D’Ugo has appealed.

[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on the Times' website.]


Times: Man jailed for sexual acts with boy
Thursday, 22nd October 2009 - 13:22CET

Gilbert d'Ugo, 62, was today jailed for a year after he admitted to participating in sexual acts with a 17-year- old boy in 2008 and the preceeding years.

In her judgement, Magistrate Jacqueline Padovani said that in this case, it emerged that the man would show the boy a porn film and participate in sexual acts with him. This had happened some 10 times.

The boy had a clean police record but had had sexual experiences before this case.
Sources said the case came to light after the boy was questioned by the police for allegedly abusing a younger person.

[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on the Times' website.]

L-Orizzont: Il-premju għall-ġurnalisti 2009 fuq id-diskriminazzjoni u d-diversità: Prosit Victor Vella


Għat-tielet sena konsekuttiva, il-ġurnali tal-Union Print rebħu l-premju nazzjonali tal-kompetizzjoni “Ngħożżu d-Diversità. Diskriminazzjoni Qatt”, premju organizzat mill-Kummissjoni Ewropea. F’Novembru, ġurija Ewropea se tagħżel wieħed mill-artikli rebbieħa nazzjonali bħala r-rebbieħ tal-kompetizzjoni Ewropea tal-Ġurnalisti.

Il-Kap tal-Uffiċċju tar-Rappreżentanza tal-Kummissjoni Ewropea f’Malta, Dr Joanna Drake, ippreżentat iċ-ċertifikat u l-premju lill-ġurnalist Victor Vella fl-Uffiċċju tar-rappreżentanza, fil-Belt Valletta.

It-12-il sottomissjoni mibgħutin mill-ġurnalisti Maltin kienu evalwati minn ġurija indipendenti magħmula mill-Konsulent Editorjali Lawrence Grech, milll-korrispondenta u l-Avukat Claire Bonello, mid-Deputat Editur Matthew Vella, minn Lilian Vassallo mill-Uffiċċju tar-Rappreżentanza tal-Kummissjoni Ewropea, u minn Amanda Catania mill-Kummissjoni Nazzjonali għall-Promozzjoni tal-Ugwaljanza.

L-artiklu rebbieħ tal-ġurnalista Victor Vella, kien intitolat “il-vuċi misterjuża li taqliblek ħajtek ta’ taħt fuq”, u kien ippubblikat fil-ġurnal it-Torċa fid-19 ta’ Lulju ta’ din is-sena. Il-ġurija faħħret dan l-artiklu rebbieħ li tratta problema soċjali ‘inviżibbli’ li mhux normali li tissemma’ fil-midja. Il-bord tal-għażla qal ukoll li l-artiklu ta’ Victor Vella jispikka għax hu tajjeb ħafna, hu riċerkat tajjeb u fih laqta emottiva.

It-tieni artiklu ta’ Victor Vella intitolat “Tfal u Ommijiet’ ġie fit-tieni post filwaqt li l-artiklu ‘Mill-Iżbarra għal Kordin” ta’ Julia Farrugia ġie fit-tielet post.

Il-premju nazzjonali għall-artiklu speċjali fuq in-nies tar-Roma, li din is-sena kien jiffoka fuq ir-rabta bejn il-faqar u d-diskriminazzjoni, ma ngħata lil ħadd.

Aktar minn 500 ġurnalist minn madwar l-Unjoni Ewropea bagħtu l-artikli tagħhom miktubin bil-ħsieb li jqajmu kuxjenza fuq id-diskriminazzjoni u d-diversità. F’Novembru, ġurija Ewropea se tagħżel wieħed jew waħda minn fost ir-rebbieħa nazzjonali kollha bħala r-rebbieħa jew ir-rebbieħa tal-kompetizzjoni Ewropea tal-Ġurnalisti. Ir-rebbieħa nazzjonali kollha se jieħdu sehem fit-tieni fażi. Għas-sitt sena konsekuttiva, dan il-premju qed jonora lil dawk il-ġurnalisti li jikkontribwixxu għal għarfien aħjar tal-benefiċċji tad-diversità u għall-ġlieda kontra d-diskriminazzjoni marbuta mar-reliġjon u t-twemmin, mad-diżabilità, mal-età, mal-orjentazzjoni sesswali, mar-razza jew mal-oriġini etnika.

Aktar tagħrif fuq din il-kampanja (FDAD) jista’ jinkiseb mis-sit:

Thursday, 22 October 2009

L-Orizzont: L-opinjoni ġenerali qiegħda tinbidel

Fejn qatt konna noħolmu li ż-żgħażagħ Maltin ikunu progressivi dwar ċerti suġġetti u kwistjonijiet li jinħolqu fil-pajjiż.

Sa ftit tas-snin ilu kien kważi “dnub” jekk isemmi l-kelma divorzju jew jekk titkellem favur id-drittijiet tal-omosesswali.

F’dan il-pajjiż, inħoss li bqajna lura wisq li nitkellmu dwar suġġetti tal-minoranzi jew suġġetti li jkunu qegħdin jeffetwaw b’mod ħażin lin-nies b’mod psikoloġiku u kif ukoll b’mod fattwali.

Ftit tal-jiem ilu għadu kif ġie ppublikat stħarriġ ikkum mis sjonat mill-għaqda MOVE. Ħarġu diversi riżultati interessanti, imma li hu żgur hu, li ħareġ ċar ħafna li l-opinjoni taż-żgħażagħ qiegħda tinbidel.

Il-maġġoranza assoluta taż-żgħa żagħ fl-Università ta’ Malta taqbel mad-divorzju, li kop pji li jkunu qegħdin jikkoabitaw jiġu rikkonoxuti legal ment u li jidħlu l-‘condom machines’ fl-Università. Dan filwaqt li l-maġġoranza jaqblu mad-dritt taż-żwieġ bejn persuni omoseswali u mal-‘morning after pill’.

Ħafna żgħażagħ jixtiequ l-bidla ta’ kif qegħdin jiġu rraġunati u mmexxijin ċerti suġġetti prinċipali fil-pajjiż. M’għadhomx iqisu dak kollu li tgħid il-Knisja bħala “vanġelu” u bħala l-unika triq tajba.

Ħafna żgħażagħ jixtiequ li dawn is-suġġetti jibdew jiġu diskussi b’mod aktar loġiku u mhux aktar b’mod spiritwali.

Irridu nibdew nirraġunaw u niddiskutu b’mod li nħossu verament dak li jixtiequ n-nies. Huwa vera li dak li jixtiequ n-nies mhuwiex dejjem it-tajjeb, imma suġġetti bħal dawn il-każi huwa differenti.

Dawn huma suġġetti li jolqtu b’mod dirett il-ħajja tan-nies, huma suġ ġetti fejn jolqtu b’mod ħaj il-problemi soċjali li jiltaqgħu magħhom in-nies.

Huwa vera li wieħed irid joqgħod attent li ma jkunx hemm abbużi meta jidħlu l-liġijiet imma b’hekk importanti li jkollna gvern serju li joħloq liġijiet ippjanati b’mod tajjeb ħafna biex tevita abbużi fil-liġijiet.

Nemmen li l-estremitajiet qatt mhuma tajbin u b’hekk ma nistgħux nibqgħu nżommu lura milli niddiskutu dawn is-suġġetti fil-pajjiż.

Ma naqbilx li dawn l-affarijiet imsemmijin hawn fuq ma jidħlux fis-sistema Maltija u fl-istess ħin ma naqbilx li jinfetħu l-affarijiet beraħ b’mod li kulħadd jispiċċa jagħmel li jrid b’konsegwenza li nibnu kultura fejn kollox huwa xorta.

Meta niftħu l-bieb b’mod legali u strutturat għal dawn is-suġġetti nkunu qegħdin niftħu l-bieb għal aktar inklussività fil-poplu tagħna.

Inkunu qegħdin nagħmlu aktar nies iħossuhom komdi li jgħixu f’dan il-pajjiż għax verament ikollna sistema fejn tittratta lil kulħadd bl-istess mod.

Gvern m’għandux ikun hemmhekk biss għal dawk li jimxu skont kif tgħid il-Knisja, imma gvern irid ikun hemm għal kulħadd u b’hekk kulħadd jrid jkollu l-istess drittijiet.

Inħossni kunfidenti li l-loġi ka se tkun qiegħda tirrenja aktar f’dan il-pajjiż.

Liġijiet bħal dawn għandhom ikunu ippjanti b’mod li min irid jimxi mall-progressività jista’ jimxi b’mod liberu u min irid jimxi b’mod konservattiv jista’ jgħix b’mod liberu wkoll.

Is-soċjetà għandha tkun mibnija fuq inklussività komuni bejn kulħadd.

IHEU: Gay Humanists Warn: "Vatican and Italian government will have blood on their hands".

International Humaist Ethical Union (IHEU)

 Italy United Kingdom

The Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association (GALHA) strongly supports the demonstrations held in Rome last weekend, 18th October, 2009,protesting against the refusal of the Italian Parliament to pass laws protecting people physically victimised because of their sexual orientation.

The bill, which aimed to provide a deterrent against the growing number of "hate crimes" across Italy , especially against LGBT people, was voted out by an "unholy alliance" of Right Wing and Left Wing politicians, with the strong support of the Catholic Church.

As well as acting to torpedo this bill, the Vatican, has been a key player in denying gay Italian citizens other rights, such as the right to marriage or civil partnerships, that are rapidly becoming the norm elsewhere in Western Europe.

MPs rejecting the bill argued that it would give "special rights" to gay people, violating the Italian constitution which requires equality for all. More bizarrely, and inconsistently, it was claimed that it would also offer protection to tendencies such as paedophilia, zoophilia, necrophilia and incest.

In response, on Sunday 18th October, protestors organised "Flash Mobs" in several key locations in Rome, acting out their own "deaths" and wearing pink triangles, to hammer home the message sent out by Parliament, that violence against gay people is not an especially urgent issue. The clear message was that, in the event of any more attacks targeting gay people, the Italian Parliament and Government will have "blood on their hands".

GALHA Secretary David Christmas commented:

"We congratulate the Italians on the stand they are taking against their government and Parliament's refusal to act to protect its gay and lesbian citizens.

"The suggestion that the bill would give gay people "special rights" is morally offensive, since gay victims of hate crime are already being singled out for "special treatment" by their attackers. The objection is also intellectually fatuous as the law would also protect straight people targeted for their sexuality. The fact that there are few if any instances of people attacked for being heterosexual is hardly a criticism to be made against gay people.

"The second objection, which directly contradicts the first – suggests that you can't protect gay people without at the same time protecting perversions like zoophilia. This- is of course deeply insulting not just to gay people, but to the intelligence and common senses of those applying the law, especially as this has not been a real issue where similar laws have been introduced in other countries. Are they really suggesting that their own lawyers and judges are more stupid than those elsewhere in the world?

"The key role of the Vatican in this, also confirms that voicing its disapproval against gay people is more important than physically protecting their lives.

"We call on the Italian Government and Parliament to reverse this shameful decision, and to respect the memory of some of the greatest people in history who have been gay Italians, from Leonardo da Vinci to Michelangelo.

"We also call on European institutions and other EU Governments to apply all possible pressure on Italy to grant full equality and protection to all of its citizens.

"And we call on the many decent Roman Catholics, both in Italy and elsewhere, to make clear to the Vatican that they do not support its continued vendetta against gay people.

"If the Vatican and the Italian Parliament continue to block Anti-Hate Laws, then both will have blood on their hands.

"This outrage provides yet another reason to object to honouring the Pope with a lavish state reception in the UK, as proposed by Gordon Brown with the support of David Cameron."

Andrea Maccarrone, president of the Rome based Gay Association Circolo Mario Mieli said:
"We welcome GALHA's support in this vital struggle, which involves all European citizens, not just Italians."

Photos of the demonstrations are also available from

A brief video of the demo is also available on youtube at:


Note to Editors:

GALHA provides a voice for the many non-religious members of the LGBT community in
the United Kingdom and elsewhere and promotes a rational approach to LGBT
Rights as human rights. For its 30th Anniversary in 2009 GALHA is holding a
series of special public meetings and events including an exhibition of its
work in Central London.

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