EILE Magazine has learned that the Irish Government intends to join the Equal Rights Coalition (ERC), an intergovernmental body that seeks to protect LGBTI rights, next year.
Launched in July 2016, the ERC was established under the leadership of Uruguay and the Netherlands, at the Global LGBTI Human Rights Conference in Montevideo. Since then, 40 countries have become members of the ERC, including many from Europe, however Ireland is not yet a member.
In a letter seen by EILE Magazine, the Cork-based LGBT campaigner and activist, Stephen Spillane, wrote to An Tánaiste, Simon Coveney, about the recent news that the United Kingdom is to become co-chair of the ERC alongside Argentina from June 2019. It was in light of this news that Mr. Spillane asked if the Irish Government had previously considered making Ireland a member state, as “what the ERC stands for is very much in line with the Government’s policies on LGBTI issues in Ireland and around the world”.
Shortly after his letter to Mr. Coveney, the Office of An Tánaiste replied to Mr. Spillane, explaining that Ireland is committed “to promoting the rights of LGBTI+ individuals, who continue to suffer disproportionate levels of violence and face systemic discrimination in many countries”.
The letter went on to confirm that:
“Given the close alignment between the objectives of the ERC and Ireland’s position on LGBTI+ individuals, […] favourable consideration is being given to joining the Coalition, and it is anticipated that this will take effect from 2019”.
The ERC works to advance the human rights of LGBTI people, promoting inclusive development in both member and non-member countries by working with civil society organisations and multilateral agencies. Amongst these are the likes of UNAIDS, Stonewall, ILGA, the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, Human Rights Watch, and many more.