Equality Rights group GGR - Citizenship in Democracy EQUALITY RIGHTS GGR

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

Monday, May 04, 2009

Caruana should hold his promised Traditional Values Referendum!

The group insists Parliament will debate the Age of Consent issue out of obligation, “not personal conscience”

In a statement to the media, Felix Alvarez, Equality Rights Group GGR Chairman, has today said he welcomes “the announcement that Parliament will soon debate the Age of Consent issue,” adding that “it is clear this is happening because after 9 years of GGR’s campaigning, international law institutions are serious in requiring that the Rock complies with its obligations. Quite simply, the matter is being raised in Parliament out of obligation and not because of some sudden sense of personal conscience within the Chief Minister’s ranks.

“In fact, I have to say that GGR is very disappointed to find that, so far, Mr Caruana has failed to put before the people the much-touted Referendum on traditional values he so tantalisingly promised some time back. We would urge him in this endeavour as we would with any open discussion on difficult issues, and cannot understand his hesitation.”

“While we will not comment on the proposed introduction of a Bill by a member of government until we have read the detail, we appreciate all individual commitments to equality. Despite the Party leadership, we believe there are nonetheless decent GSD members who are in favour of social change and who have been active in advocating it within their Party. On the other hand, we expect that, following their various Manifesto commitments, the GSLP/Liberal Alliance will be voting unanimously in favour of equalisation. However until change is confirmed by Parliament, GGR will not dismantle its active campaign work on the issue.

“This being the case, GGR remains on course for two further phases in its campaign which, depending on results, may continue: firstly, we have started work in re-engaging the Council of Europe after its requirement a year ago that the British Government ensure age of consent equality in Gibraltar “within a reasonable period of time.” The CoE normally expects rectification within a one-year time frame. That time has now elapsed. Additionally, GGR has already placed a new Report before a new Human Rights Inquiry announced on 2 April by the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons and which is presently before that institution. The new submission has been undertaken jointly by GGR and a European human rights organisation (ILGA-Europe) and aims to highlight the UK government’s failure to date on age of consent in Gibraltar."