CHILE: Rights for homosexual and transexual children

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[13 July 2007] - The Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation (Movilh) announced today that it would take initiatives this year to have the Penal Code amended to stop homosexual and transsexual children from being discriminated against in law on the grounds of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Since last year, the Movilh has involved civil society in this debate, for example, the Agenda for Human Rights for Chile’s Bicentenary, includes - on recommendations made by Movilh - the necessity of reforming the Penal Code for sexual minorities, which currently sanctions homosexual relationships between children.

As well as announcing legal and social initiatives it will take on this issue, the Movilh publicised a recommendation made by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child to the Chilean State last April.

The Committee expressed ‘concern’ that “homosexual relations, including between people under 18 years old, are still criminalised, indicating discrimination on the basis of sexual preference.”

It recommended that the Chilean State “intensify its efforts to examine, oversee and implement legislation that guarantees the principle of non-discrimination (…) and adopt a proactive and holistic strategy to eliminate discrimination on the grounds of gender, ethnicity, religion, or any other grounds or against any other vulnerable group in the country.”

The Committee’s comments are based on a number of reports sent by the Movilh and the International Commission of Human Rights for Gays and Lesbians on this subject. This was the first time that the UN had drawn the State’s attention to this issue.

“We have worked hard for homosexual and transsexual adults and for children who have been affected by homophobia and transphobia in schools and colleges. Now it is time to recognise that children’s right to love must also be respected. It should not be possible that someone under 18 who feels that they are homosexual or transsexual is criminalised by our Penal Code. This is a violation of their human rights,” says Movilh activist Juan Hernández.

In 1998, and after seven years of struggle which included bringing a complaint against the Chilean State before the UN, the Movilh succeeded in getting Article 365 of the Penal Code amended to allow sexual relations between adult males, on the condition that they are based on consent and in private.

However, this amendment did not help children and young people as they are still criminalised. This is not the case for heterosexuals for whom the age of consent is 12.

"This is arbitrary and inhuman. Of course sexual abuse of children must be sanctioned whether they are homosexual or heterosexual, but fixing the age of consent differently according to sexuality is an abuse that must be eliminated. Why should young people of 16 years old who feel love for one another not be allowed to be together? It is important that we approve a draft bill that establishes measures against discrimination as soon as possible,” said Hernández.

Further information

pdf: http://agmagazine.com.ar/index.php?IdNot=1442

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