Equality Rights group GGR - Citizenship in Democracy EQUALITY RIGHTS GGR

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

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

New Committee - New Phase

‘To say that because we defend gay rights we are ineligible to raise our voices on broader issues is discriminatory and unacceptable’

Thanking the old Executive Committee for their work over the past 4 years, Equality Rights Group GGR has announced the formation of a new Executive following recent elections. GGR’s statement to the Press highlights ‘what is not only a new set of individuals, but also a new phase of openness, where people are beginning to lose their fear of being publicly known. This is only one sign of the many changes which are occurring for not only gay citizens in Gibraltar, but also their heterosexual friends, too, who themselves, are also overcoming their fears to openly support. As such, a good number of the 14 EC applicants were not gay.

‘We will not be stereotyped nor put into neat little boxes by any means – editorially, politically, socially or otherwise. We defend Gibraltar-wide human and civil rights across the board – and we do so precisely because we walk our talk on ‘inclusiveness'. To say that because we defend gay rights we are ineligible to raise our voices on broader issues is discriminatory and unacceptable.’

‘There is still a long way to go, though. People in all sectors should come together in realizing that we can only be dubbed ‘minorities’ when we allow ourselves to be partitioned off. Whether we like it or not, all ‘minority’ issues in a small community affect the majority, directly or indirectly, through our friends and families.

‘GGR took the decision last year to hold back on re-grouping for a prudent period pre- and post- the National Elections in Gibraltar in order to ensure stability in a period of flux. GGR is now pleased to announce the selection of the following individuals to its Executive: Ivan Hernandez, Kevin Kelway, Maryanne Nacimiento, Gabrielle Phillips, Charles Trico, Paul Wells and Felix Alvarez.

‘A number of co-opted individuals also assist the group in its work on an ‘as required’ basis. Furthermore, Kevin Kelway, known locally for his pro-Gibraltar activism in Britain, has been named in an honorary capacity, and will provide a link for the Committee to the UK.

The group has also revealed that the outgoing Executive Committee requested the Chairmanship of the group be re-taken by Felix Alvarez, who following consideration and endorsement accepted, insisting that the new Committee ‘represent a new phase and fresh approach to the group’s work.’ Charles Trico continues in the role of Secretary to the group.

‘GGR is in a growth phase, with the influx of new both gay and heterosexual participation. Indeed, heterosexual supporters and members comprise a significant new trend in the growth the organization is experiencing, with membership currently standing at around 500. We shall be holding more and more open meetings which we expect to start in a small way but which, with on-going hard work, are destined to grow in significance,’ the statement added.

Monday, April 09, 2012

GGR in EU complaint

Equality Rights Group GGR has submitted a complaint to MEP Sir Graham Watson, the group has announced in a communiqué to the press.

‘The matter relates to a Europe-wide survey on real life experiences of sexual minorities. As a group, we have received many reports from individuals on the Rock who have wanted to participate in providing feedback to the EU on a survey it is undertaking in order to have hard facts to inform its policy making. Nonetheless, when Gibraltarians have been in the process of completing the online survey, they have found that Gibraltar is excluded from the list of participating countries, the only option available being the UK as representative.

‘We fully understand that, for EU purposes, Gibraltar is not a stand-alone Member State, and that its membership is by proxy via the United Kingdom. Whilst this is not a satisfactory situation it is, however, hard political fact. Nonetheless, in a situation where the EU is asking for real-life experience to be fed back for its policy information, it makes no sense at all that Gibraltarians should be grouped under the UK, as if the information reflected not Gibraltar experience but the UK's.

‘GGR has approached Sir Graham Watson, MEP, as a first point of contact to raise the complaint. However, whilst we await what if any amendment might be possible on this issue, we shall study the possibility of taking the matter up further within the European Union.

‘GGR has long complained of the lack of an explicit mechanism for Gibraltar social and human rights information to be regularly reported to the EU. Member States are required to present periodic reports to the Union, but we see no procedure in sight and in place which similarly takes care of putting Gibraltar issues to the European Union. It is little wonder, therefore, if Gibraltarians should feel distanced, uninvolved and uncared for by an EU which does not take effective measures to remedy this deficit,’ the statement ends.