Samoa marks day against Homophobia

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(From left)Lagipoiva Cherelle Jackson, Vaitoa Toelupe and Leilani Jackson.

(From left)Lagipoiva Cherelle Jackson, Vaitoa Toelupe and Leilani Jackson.

Samoa celebrated the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (I.D.A.H.O.T.B.) 2018 at Hotel Tanoa Tusitala on Wednesday.

The Theme of the day was “Alliances for Solidarity.”

The local celebration was spearheaded by the Samoa Fa’afafine Association (S.F.A.).

On the day, the S.F.A. alliances joined them to push for improved access to primary and specialized care for fa’afafine and fa’atama in Samoa. 

In an opinion piece, Dr. Natalia Kanem, Executive Director of U.N.F.P.A, highlighted the importance of the occasion.

“Every person, without any distinction on any grounds, has an equal right to live free from violence, persecution, discrimination and stigma of any kind. Human rights are universal. 

Cultural, religious and moral practices and beliefs, and social attitudes must not be invoked to justify human rights violations against any group, including L.G.B.T.I. persons,” she said.

“While welcoming increasing efforts in many countries to protect the rights of L.G.B.T.I. people, U.N.F.P.A. remains seriously concerned that around the world, millions of L.G.B.T.I. individuals, those perceived as L.G.B.T.I., and their families face widespread human rights abuse and violence. This is cause for alarm – and action.

“As an employer, U.N.F.P.A. commits to fostering a workplace where L.G.B.T.I. employees can be themselves and work productively, with the full support and respect of all their colleagues.

“U.N.F.P.A. stands ready to support United Nations Member States and other stakeholders as they work to tackle head-on the many challenges facing L.G.B.T.I. citizens. 

“As a global community, we must respect, protect, promote and fulfill the human rights of every L.G.B.T.I. person.”

In Samoa, S.F.A. is grateful to the support from the Asia Pacific Trans Network (A.P.T.N.) and the Asia Pacific Forum through the Samoa National Human Rights Institute for making, the local commemoration possible.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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