Saturday, 27 April 2013

Malta Today: Government launches LGBT consultative council

Social dialogue and civil liberties minister Helena Dalli launches consultative council gay rights.
Monday 22 April 2013 - 17:25 by a Staff Reporter

Helena Dalli (centre) alongside Joanne Cassar who dropped proceedings in the European Court of Human Rights against the Maltese government over her preclusion from marrying.

A consultative council has been set up to advise government and prepare legislation on LGBT rights, social dialogue and civil liberties minister Helena Dalli said.

The council, which will be composed of civil society representatives, was created following the tabling of the draft bill amending the civil code in order to grant the right to marriage to transgender persons.

Dalli said that the council will include representatives of LGBT organisations, which she said had the "experience, expertise and access to research on the issue."

"The council's first priority will be that of preparing a draft law on the introduction of civil partnerships for same sex couples. At a later stage the council will prepare a bill which will regulate the identification of transgender persons," Dalli said.

While noting that the council's creation comes in the wake of the Labour Party's electoral pledge, Dalli said: "the government is implementing policies which guarantee full respect towards diversity."

Underlining the government's commitment to fight all forms of discrimination and homophobia, Dalli stressed the importance of education.

"Children must be exposed to education and information on such issues from a very early age," Dalli said, adding that the government was committed to address haressment and bullying in schools.

Noting that addressing hate crimes was also among the the government's priorities, Dalli said that education should focus on celebrating diversity and fighting pprejudice.

"The government believes in an open and free society which safeguards human rights and fundamental liberties where everyone can fulfill her or his aspirations."

The organisations represented on the consultative council are the Malta Gay Rights Movement, Drachma, student organisation We Are, ADITUS Foundation and LGBT Labour.

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