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by Thandisizwe Chimurenga
Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011 at 9:01 AM
Human Rights Group Affirms Sexual Rights Are Human Rights
November 18, 2011
U.S. Human Rights Network Holds National Conference in Los Angeles
Serena Garcia, 404.756.2680
Kali Akuno, 510.593.3956
Group affirms that “sexual rights” are human rights
Atlanta, GA – The United States Human Rights Network (USHRN), an Atlanta-based coalition of more than 300 organizations from around the country, will hold its National Conference and Membership Meeting in Los Angeles during “Human Rights Weekend,” Dec. 9-11, 2011, at the Radisson Hotel at LAX, 6225 W. Century Blvd., Los Angeles 90045. As part of its agenda the Network plans to provide space for critical discussions in the areas of gender and sexuality via workshops coordinated through its Sexual Rights and Gender Justice Working Group.
According to Serena Garcia, chair of the Working Group, among its many purposes are to “meaningfully and consistently integrate sexual rights and gender justice into the broader agenda of the domestic human rights movement in the United States; to increase the membership and participation of groups working on gender justice and sexual rights within the US Human Rights Network; and to develop the capacity of LGBT, reproductive justice, sexual freedom, sex worker and other groups/activists to effectively use human rights language, standards and strategies in their domestic advocacy and organizing.”
Kali Akuno, the interim co-director of the Network, states that, “the work of extending the notion of rights and protections for women and expanding the notion of gender and sexuality is crucial, and its part of the ongoing work to define who is human, who is deserving of human rights.”
“The US Human Rights Network sees this front of struggle as being one of the primary fronts on the immediate horizon, which is why we're giving it priority in our work,” Akuno said. “We see it as requiring long-term, systemic change, long-term cultural change, not just a few policy changes here and there.”
Originally scheduled for its headquarters of Atlanta, the group decided in August to move its biannual conference out of Georgia due to passage of that state’s controversial anti-immigration bill, HB 87. Similar to Arizona’s SB 1070, HB 87 would criminalize Georgians who interact with undocumented individuals; authorize police to demand “papers” demonstrating citizenship or immigration status during routine encounters; and deny individuals without specific identification access to state facilities and services. The change of conference location is in support of a general economic boycott of the state and in accordance with the organization’s principles.
The primary goal of the United States Human Rights Network is to increase the visibility of the US human rights movement and link U.S.-based human rights activists with the global human rights movement. Some of the Network’s core Principles of Unity are: Human Rights are interdependent, inalienable and universal; they include Civil, Political, Economic, Social, Cultural, Environmental and Sexual Rights; and they are protected through building social movements. For more information on the US Human Rights Network and its activities, please visit www.ushrnetwork.org.
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