Bob Carr signing the pledgeThe Labor Party has promised to uphold LGBTI rights in Australia’s foreign affairs after Foreign Minister Bob Carr signed a pledge on behalf of the party this week.

The move by Labor comes a fortnight after Greens leader Christine Milne similarly committed her party to advocating for LGBTI rights across the world.

Organised by the UK-based LGBTI and human rights organisation the Kaleidoscope Trust, the pledge signed by Carr reads:

“We make this solemn pledge our support to the furtherance of LGBTI rights as a strong component of wider human rights.”

Carr’s signing of the pledge follows an announcement in mid-July that LGBTI rights will form a core foreign policy under Labor.

Speaking for Kaleidoscope Trust in Australia, Douglas Pretsell said Labor’s signing of the pledge was very much welcomed.

“This comes on top of pledge signed by the Greens a fortnight ago,” he said. “We are still hopeful that others will make similar commitments.”

Around the world, many countries continue to criminalise homosexual sex and have laws that discriminate against LGBTI people, particularly in Commonwealth countries where laws against homosexuality, for the most part, are a leftover from codes introduced under British colonial rule.

Currently, laws in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Palau, Cook Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Brunei, Bangladesh, The Maldives, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore and the Aceh province of Indonesia prohibit consensual sexual activity between men. 
Kaleidoscope Trust executive director Lance Price said the organisation will be working with the future Australian Government following the election to support the furtherance of LGBTI rights in the Asia-Pacific region and in the forthcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in November.

“Australia has an important role to play and we value the commitment of Australian political parties to our campaign to repeal all legislation that criminalises people because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status,” Price said in a statement. “Kaleidoscope Trust is seeking to support future Australian governments in this endeavour.”

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