The International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) is leading a major campaign for a UN Resolution which will decriminalise homosexuality. There are still 77 countries in the world in which homosexuality is illegal and can lead to imprisonment and even in some cases, capitol punishment.

Louis-Georges Tin, the founder of IDAHO has gained support for this intitative from hundreds of VIP’s, politicians, celebrities and many NGO’s have also signed up to a petition which can be found on www.idahomophobia.org.

Among the signatories are several Nobel prize winners, most notably Desmond Tutu and politicians such as Michael Cashman, the Mayor of Paris and Thomas Hammarberg, Commissioner of the Council of Human Rights. Authors Edmund White and Neil McKenna join playwrights Tom Stoppard, Ariel Dorfman and Larry Kramer along with international superstar David Bowie and actress Meryl Streep in supporting this campaign.

Crucially, organisations such as the Intergroup of the European Parliament on Gay and Lesbian Rights and ILGA have also declared their support, as well as human rights and anti racist organisations. Tin explained that once enough people have signed the petition, the wording and the timing of the resolution, which will be presented to the United Nations Council of Human Rights, will be decided in consultation with ILGA. It is hoped that South Africa will submit the proposal, he said.

Meanwhile, IDAHO-UK is busy preparing for the 2007 International Day Against Homophobia on May 17. Among the initiatives planned for next year is a major campaign around homophobic bullying. IDAHO campaigners around the world marked May 17 with a minute’s silence, but this year inspired by the example of an IDAHO event in Sheffield in May of this year, campaigners will be making a “minute’s noise” in city centres around the UK.

The International Day Against Homophobia has not been marked in South Africa to date.

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