Equality Rights group GGR - Citizenship in Democracy EQUALITY RIGHTS GGR

News and Information from Gibraltar on Equality, Human, Gay and Social Rights

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


If you have come to visit Equality Rights Group (previously Gib Gay Rights - GGR) please accept our apologies. We have now moved to www.equalitygib.org.

In our new dedicated website you will find all the latest information, news, archives and more - including our Facebook and Twitter links.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Monday, November 12, 2012


Felix Alvarez, Equality Rights group (GGR) Chairman, has sent a message of congratulations to a Financial Services Summit held in London at the global headquarters of the reputed law firm Clifford Chance and supported by US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton. The Summit brings together major global corporations to discuss the opportunity that increasing equality brings to the marketplace.

Chairman Felix Alvarez
‘The Finance Centre in Gibraltar should take note of how the marketplace is moving along with social change all round,’ Mr Alvarez stated. ‘At this important Summit, the world’s largest companies are coming together to discuss how the financial services industry can work with and benefit from equality. No doubt at all, major corporations see not only the altruistic value of this, but also the market opportunities which are arising as society changes. The companies participating in the Summit represent eleven major companies with more than $630 billion (£385 billion) in market capitalisation.

‘Likewise, we in Gibraltar must also be visionaries if we wish to stay ahead of trends and safeguard our economic growth in the present and for the future. Civil Society includes the Business Sector, not just social non-governmental organisations. We’re all in this together to see mutual growth and progress for our people. Activists must be open to this kind of social inclusion and mutual support,’ Mr Alvarez continued. ‘And we are pleased to note voices such as the Chief Executive of Barclays confirm that, in his words, ‘Equality is critically important to Barclays because it helps to ensure that we provide customers and clients with the best possible service.’

‘I am certain leaders of the local Business Community in general, as well as the Finance Centre industry in Gibraltar in particular, will take note of not only this Summit but of what it means in terms of entrepreneurial opportunity for growing our economic base and increasing employment as the world itself becomes more competitive for a slice of a growing ‘equality niche,’ Mr Alvarez ended.

Monday, October 22, 2012

We welcome public inquiry into Johanna Hernandez allegations and new Whistleblower law

  ‘Our society cannot make progress by sweeping difficult issues under the carpet,’ Equality Rights group (GGR) has said in a press statement following the announcement of a Government open inquiry into allegations of malpractice at the Dr Giraldi Home by ex-Manager Johanna Hernandez.

‘This matter has been traumatic for both the individuals concerned and for Gibraltar in general. It is good to see Government setting up an open, public inquiry into the matter through the services of an independent judge. We therefore heartily welcome the process as a step forward in our road towards a more fully participatory democratic society,’ the statement continued.

‘Alongside this development, it is also right for us to recognise and welcome the recent introduction of what is known as ‘Whistleblower’ legislation. Having closely studied the provisions of the Employment (Public Interest Disclosure) Act 2012, it is appropriate for this group to again welcome the new provisions as an advance in bringing forth a healthier social and political environment for our country, wherein individuals with serious concerns will be given the opportunity to raise alarms over perceived malpractice.

‘As a human and civil rights organisation, however, we are concerned that the Act falls short in certain areas. In particular, and of greatest importance, is that, although an individual may whistle blow by presenting their concerns to the Minister for Employment at his offices in the ETB, the provisions do not appear to obligate Government to institute any sort of open public inquiry into any allegations. Mechanisms should be announced which would leave the independence and investigatory nature of the process beyond any doubt at all, and perhaps this may best be handled via the offices of the Ombudsman who should receive notification. At the moment, while the new law allows allegations to be made safely without risk to the individual’s employment status, there appear to be no clear guarantees that any action at all would arise. In light of this situation, Government would be wise to take steps to clearly and publicly delineate the procedures which would safeguard against any possibility that allegations made under the Act are not merely silently received and  ‘shelved’ by a Minister.

‘Furthermore, the introduction of this Act brings up questions related to the Official Secrets Act’s (OFA) operations in conjunction with the new legal provisions and which have been the subject of GGR’s submission at Command stage but for which we have had no feedback. Particularly since it is unclear whether the version of the OFA is as outdated as the government Laws of Gibraltar service online suggests – that is, the 1939 version, whereas modernisation occurred in the UK as far back as 1989 to take into account social change over the period. In this regard, it is perhaps the right moment for the Ministry of Justice to look into the status of that particular legislation and, as necessary, bring it up to the relevant modern standards, as has happened in the UK. Clarification on the situation of civil servants in the interface between the new disclosure legislation and the OFA would assist in the greater transparency we are all seeking.’

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Equality Rights Group (GGR) has today welcomed the recent decision taken by the La Linea local government to officially declare La Linea a  gay tolerant city.

'In Spanish, this carries the implication of acceptance of diversity perhaps more so than in English. The point is that with this unanimous and cross-party Motion being moved and approved, La Linea is signalling and opening the door to new commercial and employment opportunities in not only tourism and entertainment but in the wider marketplace. There is no reason at all why a new environment of Equality should not also present Commerce with opportunity.
'And we are also now looking forward to the launch very soon of Gibraltar's own independent initiative, too,' the statement continued. Chairman Felix Alvarez went on to reveal that GGR has recently approved the establishment of an independent Gibraltar initiative to be run by local entrepreneurs and to be known as 'Positive Business'.
"GGR welcomes this independent initiative which aims to bring niche commercial opportunities to Gibraltar's business sector, with the core aim of assisting the business community identify and best approach the new consumer trends - both local and foreign - and thus contribute to the Rock's economy.'


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Discrimination by some businesses must stop!

The group says ‘Business must project a more positive image - and we are keen to work closely with them to this end'

‘We are concerned to be receiving more and more reports about humiliating and discriminatory treatment of gay people by some Gibraltar businesses,’ a statement from Equality Rights group has today expressed.

‘This is by no means the first time we have received such reports. But it is the growing trend which is sounding alarms. As an organisation, it is often difficult for us to verify the circumstances provided to us, yet the consistency of the details and specific locations involved are beginning to add up,' Chairman Felix Alvarez added.

‘Equality Rights group is hopeful that Government will be introducing legislation soon to outlaw the denial of goods and services to anyone on the basis of particular categories – whether sexual orientation, race, disability or any other grounds.

‘If the reports we have been receiving are correct – and the volume and consistency over time are leading us in that direction – then we must begin to be conscious of a growing problem. As more and more gay people not only demand but also expect equal treatment, the trend is almost inevitable and we must have provisions in place to halt it.

‘It is a well-known fact that LGBT citizens have a higher-than-average disposable income. In a competitive environment, it makes little business sense to reject rather than court local consumer sectors. The only effect otherwise is to drive them over the border. While GGR does not presently support the call to boycott certain local businesses that may be implicated, we do call on fairness and reason to be the guiding principles when businesses deal with customers (regardless of their social category). They are, after all, customers first and foremost. It is important to avert repetitions and further escalation in this situation.

‘Nonetheless, while unseemly sexual or other behaviour from any individual in a public place is unacceptable, common shows of human affection (a kiss, hug, holding of hands or dancing together) should not be grounds for drastic and humiliating action against a client. They’re not for heterosexuals – why should they constitute grounds for humiliation or throwing out of gay people?

‘If any business considers that such ordinary human affection and gestures in any way violates their ‘family’ business plan focus, we would remind them that LGBT people were born in families, are part of families, and also create families. And GGR - which includes both gay and straight supporters - will not accept homophobic policies from any quarter.

‘GGR is, nonetheless, certain that Gibraltar businesses are, in the main, sensible and protect their customers’ interests because, in the long haul, they are also the interests of the businesses themselves,' Mr Alvarez said. 'It is also good to see some companies supporting and investing in the Community in which they are rooted. Business must project a more positive image - and as Chairman of GGR, I am always keen to discuss issues and work closely with them to this end.'