IDAHO founder begins hunger strike for UN resolution on decriminalising homosexuality

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The founder of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia has launched a hunger strike this week calling on the new French president to honour a promise to introduce a UN resolution on the decriminalisation of homosexuality.

Louis-Georges Tin and IDAHO Committee members Alexander and Marcel Usaam Mukwaya began their hunger strike on Monday, saying Francois Hollande was not acting on a promise made to them in May.

IDAHO said the recently-elected French president had agreed, in a meeting with M Tin six weeks ago, to introduce a UN resolution calling for the global decriminalisation of homosexuality.

The group said this week the new government was delaying what was in fact an “absolute emergency”.

IDAHO said the support of the US would be crucial to such a resolution being passed and the possibility of a Republican victory in this year’s US presidential elections put that in jeopardy.

This in turn would mean a resolution could be delayed for “four, eight or twelve years” if it were not brought to the UN urgently.

The group said it had been seeking action by the French government for two years under the previous Nicolas Sarkozy-led government. It said lack of interest in the issue and other global emergencies took precedence.

Alexandre Marcel, Vice-Chair IDAHO France said: “Around the world, women and men are thrown in jail, just because of their love. Love is not a crime.”

IDAHO said it appreciated that the government had only recently come to power, but stressed that the international issues were not ruled by the French political calendar.

Louis-Georges Tin described a “very tough stand-off” in 2008 which led to a France- and Netherlands-sponsored UN declaration calling for the decriminalisation of homosexuality.

He said: “Now it comes to making a resolution, that is to say, a more binding text, the same over-cautiousness come back, saying that it is too early, it must be given more time, etc. Enough.” enquiry to French officials had not received a response at the time of publication.

France’s new government has pledged to introduce equal marriage laws and equal adoption laws for gay couples, both of which were part of Francois Hollande’s presidential manifesto.

M Tin continued: “I support equal rights, but I can not abandon gays languishing in prison because now I’ll finally be able to get married. We hope that France will finally hold to its commitments of over two years, but it is true that the attitude of successive governments is both full of cowardice and cruelty. It is with a heavy heart that we begin this hunger strike.”