27 January 2012 05:20
Around 100 persons braved the cold on Thursday evening in St Paul’s Square Hamrun to call on the Minister of Justice to extend the scope of crime legislation to include other grounds such as hate crimes against Lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and trans gender (LGBT) persons. Three weeks earlier in the same square three young people insulted and attacked a young lesbian couple for being lesbian.
Nine NGOs organized the activity: Aditus, AD Malta, Drachma, and Drachma Parents group, Graffiti, Integra Foundation, LGBT Labour, The Malta Gay Rights Movement and We Are. Labour MPs Evarist Bartolo and Owen Bonnici also attended.
Several speakers from the NGOs present addressed the crowd with the central message “that being part of a minority continues to pose certain risks… No one should become a target because of identity.”
Gabi Calleja of MGRM said that while changing the law may not be enough to prevent violence against LGBT persons, “it shows those of us who could be victims of such hate crime that justice and the law are on our side.”
Calleja also stressed that any change in the law needs to be backed up by education to build “a culture of respect that celebrates diversity in all its forms.”