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AMARC condemns ruling on 377 in India, calls on members to rally behind the right to identity

Dear friends,

thank you for taking attention of the following AMARC Press Release:

PRESS RELEASE

 

AMARC condemns ruling on 377 in India, calls on members to rally behind the right to identity

December 18, 2013, Kathmandu. The World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC Asia Pacific) strongly condemns the recent ruling of the Supreme Court in India on Sec. 377 of its Penal Code, which criminalizes concensual same-sex relations.

AMARC Asia-Pacific expresses its solidarity with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community in India. In its Bangalore (2010) and Seoul (2013) Declarations, AMARC AP reaffirmed that everyone has a right to live with dignity and without fear of persecution, and resolved “to create spaces on the airwaves for diverse and marginalized voices, irrespective of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity, class, caste, religious beliefs or disability.”

“The Supreme Court judgment on Sec. 377 is not only retrograde, but also schizophrenic in the context of the government of India guidelines of 2006 specifically in the context of community radio content regulation,” says Ashish Sen, ex-president of AMARC AP. Sec. 377 is inconsistent with India’s international obligations in policy making as signatory to UN Declaration of Human Rights (UNDHR) and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). It violates the right to equality, right to non-discrimination, and rights to be protected against unreasonable interference with privacy and arbitrary detention, which are enshrined in the UNDHR and ICCPR.

“Moreover, the ruling on Sec. 377 legitimizes hate and prejudice against perceived or actual LGBTs, making them even more vulnerable to acts of violence and human rights violations. This was already documented in the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ report, Born Free and Equal,” points out Maica Lagman, AMARC AP president.

“As community radio broadcasters, we are committed to giving voice to those who are marginalized based on sexual orientation and gender identity. This ruling is a backward step in human rights and only pushes LGBTs deeper into silence,” adds Lagman.

AMARC recognizes that community radio is an important tool in breaking down social barriers and stereotypes that marginalise or exclude people based on their gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity, class, caste, religious beliefs or disability.  AMARC AP calls on its members to stand behind the right to identity, and urges India’s parliament to uphold its international obligations and to overturn the ruling on 377.

-END-

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