UK-based human rights body the Kaleidoscope Trust has been lobbying Australian political parties in the run-up to the federal election, seeking to secure promises that the next Australian government will take a more active role in preventing LGBTI rights abuses in Asia-Pacific nations where Australia can wield a large degree of influence.
The pledge, signed by Greens leader Christine Milne (pictured) on behalf of the party this morning, promises “Australian support for initiatives at the UN and in other multilateral forums to protect LGBTI people from discrimination and persecution…advocacy for the equal rights of LGBTI people in Australia’s bilateral human rights dialogue,” and “Australia’s active support for the removal of anti-LGBTI criminal laws in the Asia Pacific region”.
A large number of nations in the Asia-Pacific region with whom Australia has dealings, including Papua New Guinea, Bangldesh, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia’s Aceh province, have harsh laws making consensual homosexual acts between men illegal.
Kaleidoscope Trust spokesman Douglas Pretsell said the Trust has “been working with each of the main political parties in the Australian election to secure a pledge to support LGBTI rights in foreign policy and are pleased to have secured the support of the Australian Greens”.
Milne’s signing of the pledge two weeks after Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus refused to consider allowing LGBTI refugees fleeing persecution from being forcibly transferred to Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island as part of the Rudd Government’s new asylum policy. Papua New Guinea punishes male same-sex sexual activity with up to 14 years imprisonment.