SPoD LGBTI is circulating an LGBTI Rights Pledge, part of the “LGBTI in the Parliament” campaign, for signatures in the run-up to the June 7th parliamentary elections in Turkey. The first signatories to the Pledge are HDP’s women candidates who proclaimed “We are the Rainbow.”
In the run-up to the parliamentary elections to be held on June 7th, the Istanbul based LGBTI advocacy group SPoD (Social Policies, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Studies Association) is circulating the LGBTI Rights Pledge to be signed by parliamentary candidates. Representatives of SPoD LGBTI drafted the LGBTI Rights Pledge as part of their “LGBTI in the Parliament” campaign. The campaign was started in February in order to demand the active inclusion of LGBTI individuals in decision and policy making processes. SPoD representatives visited the HDP [People’s Democracy Party], whose female candidates for Istanbul signed the Pledge. The candidates had previously included a section in their election manifesto called “We are the Rainbow.”
Are you ready to defend LGBTI rights?
The participants of the meeting, which was held in the HDP Istanbul Province Building, included Istanbul 2nd District parliamentary candidates Filiz Kerestecioğlu, Gülsüm Ağaoğlu, İnciser Alptekin, Elif Sırlıoğlu, Istanbul 3rd District parliamentary candidates Hülya İmak and Elif Bulut as well as representatives from SPoD.
SPoD LGBTI Political Representation Field Coordinator Sezen Yalçın underlined the importance of the section “We are the Rainbow” in the HDP’s election manifesto for the LGBTI and asked the parliamentary candidates: “Are you ready to defend the LGBTI rights?” Lawyer Filiz Kerestecioğlu, the HDP candidate from the 2nd District, read out loud the LGBTI Rights Pledge and said: “We became candidates in order to carry the voices of the street and their struggles into the parliament.”
Gülsüm Ağaoğlu described the HDP election manifesto as a poem of human rights rather than a mere promise, and stated that, as a party open to all the colors of the rainbow, it is their goal to implement the demands outlined in the Pledge. Imak said, “When ‘we’ are in the parliament, you will be there as well. We are not your representatives, but are the voices of all those who have been victimized.” Bulut, Alptekin and Sırlıoğlu signed the Pledge and added that it is their wish to see a political environment where everyone can coexists while enjoying their rights and their identities without the need for such a pledge.
SPoD’s eyes are on the parliamentary representatives
SPoD LGBTI calls on the parliamentary candidates to embrace a political position that guarantees the LGBTI rights and freedoms and will share with the public the names of parliamentary candidates who sign the pledge. If the candidates get elected in the upcoming parliamentary election, SPoD will hold them accountable to their pledge through monitoring their work in the new legislative period.
The Pledge that the candidates are asked to sign is as follows:
I, the undersigned, as a candidate for the Parliament, commit, if elected to the Parliament in the 7 June 2015 General Elections, to:
- Display an approach that protects all human rights, including the rights pertaining to sexual orientation and gender identity,
- Work in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (Parliament) towards gaining recognition for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and intersex rights, as protected by international human rights laws and regulations, and to ensure that Turkey fulfills its responsibilities as a party to any and all international human rights treaties,
- Strive to ensure that the new Constitution drafting process, which is to begin after the elections, is transparent and inclusive,
- Make efforts to amend laws that ignore discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity in every aspect of life and to ensure that LGBTIs have access to the justice system,
- Develop egalitarian social policies in order to make sure that LGBTIs are not excluded from or discriminated against in the spheres of education, health, employment, and housing, and that they have equal access to social services in these spheres,
- Make LGBTI rights visible within my political party, in order to ensure equality in political representation and in political participation,
- Take the necessary steps for the inclusion of openly-out LGBTI persons in every political position without them facing any discrimination,
- And cooperate with other parties’ parliamentarians who defend LGBTI rights and join them in leading the efforts towards the establishment of a permanent structure within the Assembly for this purpose.
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LGBTI NEWS TURKEY is the official translation source for SPoD LGBTI’s “In school, at work, in the parliament: LGBTIs are everywhere!” campaign, which is endorsed by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC).