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In The South

Champion supports rights of LGBT+ Palestinians

Besi Besemar August 23, 2019

Sarah Champion MP calls on Foreign Secretary to stand up for LGBT+ Palestinians in the West Bank.

Sarah Champion MP
Sarah Champion MP

FOLLOWING news of the Palestinian Authorities Police ban on activities by LGBT+ groups in the West Bank, Sarah Champion MP has written to RT Hon Dominic Rabb, the Foreign Secretary, to request that on behalf of the UK government that:

♦ He contacts the Palestinian Authorities leadership to express the concern of the United Kingdom government with regards to this police ban and request they overturn this decision.

♦ That through our diplomatic missions at the United Nations he requests that Mr.Victor Madrigal-Borloz, The UN Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity carries out a fact finding mission to the West Bank and follows this up with work in cooperation with the Palestinian Authority in order to foster the implementation of measures that contribute to the protection of all persons against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Sarah Champion MP said: “I have always and will continue to be a strong advocate for the rights of all Palestinian people living in the West Bank. This includes LGBT+ people. I was both disappointed and concerned to read the statement made by the Palestinian police spokesperson, Louay Arzeikat which stated that the activities of LGBT+ groups “go against and infringe upon the higher principles and values of Palestinian society.”

“I have written to the Foreign Secretary asking him to stand up for the rights of LGBT+ Palestinians in the West Bank. In the short term I hope that by engaging with the Palestinian Authority leadership he can encourage them to revoke this dreadful ban. In the long term I’d like to see the Palestinian Authority working with The UN Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, so the West Bank can become a place where all LGBT+ Palestinians feel safe to be themselves.”

In the letter to the Foreign Secretary she writes:

RT Hon Dominic Rabb
RT Hon Dominic Rabb

“I am writing to you to express my concern with regards to the announcement this week that the Palestinian Authority police has banned LGBT+ groups from carrying out activities in the West Bank and to ask you to take several actions in relation to this.

“As I’m sure you will know homosexuality is legal in the West Bank but there are no laws protecting LGBT+ Palestinians from harassment and discrimination. Therefore, the work done by groups such as alQaws is vital.

“alQaws vision as an organisation is to contribute to the building of a vibrant and just Palestinian society that celebrates diverse sexualities, sexual orientations, and genders. It is groups like alQaws whose work is now being criminalised by the Palestinian Authorities police.

“The Palestinian Human Rights Organisations Council have issued a robust statement this week regarding these recent developments. Within it they state that they are “gravely concerned that the State of Palestine is breaching its obligations to fulfil the principles of equality and nondiscrimination.

“This includes the implementation of the protections enshrined in the human rights treaties to all persons subject to its jurisdiction without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

“They additionally note the need for the Palestinian Authority police to abide by the Code of Conduct and Ethics of the Palestinian Police and the United Nations (UN) Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials adopted by the General Assembly in 1979 to uphold and respect fundamental rights.

“I would therefore request that you firstly contact the Palestinian Authorities leadership to express the concern of the United Kingdom government with regards to this police ban and request they overturn this decision.

“Secondly, I ask that through our diplomatic missions at the United Nations that we request that Mr. Victor Madrigal-Borloz, The UN Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity carries out a fact finding mission to the West Bank and follows this up with work in cooperation with the Palestinian Authority in order to foster the implementation of measures that contribute to the protection of all persons against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”

Sarah Champion is the Labour MP for Rotherham and a former shadow cabinet minister. She says she would “take no deal” over remaining in the EU, arguing that Labour has to deliver the result of the referendum.

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