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Date: Tue, 22 Apr 97 11:00:42 CDT
From: owner-amnesty-l@oil.ca

Tasmania's Anti-Gay Laws: Time for Change

From Amesty International
15 April 1997

Amnesty International is calling on the Tasmanian Upper House to rid Australia of the draconian law which allows for imprisonment for up to 25 years for one's sexual activity in private.

Current Tasmanian law stipulates that homosexual sex between consenting male adults in private is punishable by up to 25 years imprisonment. The Lower House has recently moved to repeal the anti-gay law and it is now in the hands of members of the Upper House to endorse the Government's bill.

The right not to be persecuted for homosexuality is a most basic human right which can no longer be denied by the Tasmanian government. The Upper House should see this as an opportunity to bring Tasmania's laws in line with Australia's aspirations to be a leading promoter of human rights.

Speaking in Hobart today, Tim Goodwin, Amnesty International's National Campaign Coordinator said: "Tasmania must act now to repeal the laws which discriminate against gay men solely on the grounds of sexuality, and which cast a shadow over Tasmania's international reputation. Amnesty International has long been calling for Tasmania to bring its laws into line with international human rights standards and we will continue to do so until this has been achieved."

In a recently released report, "Breaking the Silence - Human Rights Violations based on Sexual Orientation", Amnesty International documents officially sanctioned violations against gays and lesbians including executions, beatings and torture in Columbia, Brazil, Romania, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Albania, as well as imprisonment in Tasmania.

Amnesty International urges the Upper House to vote in favour of repealing all legislation which allows someone to be jailed for up to 25 years purely for exercising their sexual orientation.

Amnesty International's National Campaign Coordinator Tim Goodwin will be speaking at the rally to support gay law reform which will be held at Tasmania's Parliament House Gardens at 12.30pm today.

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