Equality Rights group GGR - Citizenship in Democracy EQUALITY RIGHTS GGR

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

Sunday, October 07, 2007

GGR makes submission to British Parliament

“Caruana is passing the buck to Gordon Brown ”

The group says Caruana has an ‘over my dead body’ policy on same sex issues

“Mr Caruana’s failure to act is degrading the Gibraltar Constitution, and turning our highest law into a mere set of voluntary codes as far as human rights is concerned,” Felix Alvarez, Chairman of Equality Rights Group GGR has stated. The group has made a formal submission to the Foreign Affairs Committee inquiry on the Overseas Territories being held in the British Parliament.

Alvarez considers that “the Gibraltar and British Governments are particularly failing in their legal obligations regarding Gibraltarians’ human rights on the age of consent issue.

“By not implementing binding requirements of the European Convention of Human Rights on the age of consent, Mr Caruana is passing the buck to Gordon Brown. In the end, it will be the British Prime Minister who will have to do Mr Caruana’s work.

“The reality is that by refusing to directly exercise Convention duties, the Chief Minister is handing over human rights authority to the British government. This is exactly what happened in 1993 when Gibraltar failed to live up to the Convention and Britain stepped in to require decriminalisation of gay relations. The Chief Minister’s failure to act is inviting the same kind of intervention.

“The Foreign Affairs Committee parliamentary inquiry, however, centres on the British Government’s conduct. Under both the European Convention of Human Rights and obligations in the European Union, the British Government cannot wash its hands clean of Gibraltarian citizens’ human rights. They cannot just point to local constitutional provisions and leave it up to Caruana. The British government’s international law duty to apply human rights in Gibraltar is non-delegable and above any Constitutional arrangement,” Alvarez said.

“Peter Caruana’s track record would indicate he has no desire to implement
same-sex progress in Gibraltar law unless legally obliged. This ‘over my dead body’ policy, as far as sexual minorities are concerned, is behind the times and inconsistent with a modern Gibraltar. Equality Rights Group GGR will challenge government through the courts and by every legitimate means until institutionalized prejudice, inequality and intolerance regarding all forms of discrimination are history in our own land,” the statement ended.