Representatives from 50 countries and 148 organisations will participate in a three-day conference focused on various aspects of LGBTIQ+ rights within the broader context of human rights.
This conference, part of EuroPride Valletta 2023, is organised by the Directorate of Human Rights within the Parliamentary Secretariat for Reforms and Equality in collaboration with the Allied Rainbow Communities.
Parliamentary Secretary for Reforms and Equality, Rebecca Buttigieg, emphasised that during this conference, Malta's experience in the field of LGBTIQ+ rights will serve as a guiding light for other countries in the Mediterranean region, where LGBTIQ+ rights continue to face challenges. She highlighted that Malta's accomplishments over the past decade have garnered significant recognition, with Malta consistently ranking at the top of the ILGA Rainbow Map for eight consecutive years.
In this conference, attended by three hundred delegates, eleven themes will be explored over three days of discussions. These discussions will include a focus on progress made and the path forward for implementing an equality agenda for the LGBTIQ+ community.
Among the themes to be addressed are sexual health, the challenges faced by LGBTIQ+ individuals when applying for asylum, the role of religion within the LGBTIQ community, inclusion in sports, and the intersectionality of the community itself.
"This conference provides an invaluable opportunity to share experiences and best practices, reinforcing our commitment to achieving greater equality and dismantling prejudice and discrimination," stated Parliamentary Secretary Rebecca Buttigieg.
Clayton Mercieca, Head of the Unit on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Gender Expression, and Gender Characteristics within the Directorate for Human Rights, explained that these themes, among others, are of great relevance for both the community and society at large. They will be discussed to further the journey toward equality and justice for the LGBTIQ+ community, not only in Malta but also in countries across the region. He added that the principle and value of equality are fundamental human rights and integral to the United Nations' goals for sustainable development, which form a universal agenda.
Meanwhile, Michael Owen, representing the Allied Rainbow Communities, highlighted how this conference serves as a vital component of the activities taking place during the ten days of EuroPride in our country.
The conference, being held between September 13 and 15, will feature contributions from academics and activists with extensive experience in addressing fundamental human rights issues from the perspective of the LGBTIQ+ community.