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IDAHO founder and friends go on hunger strike for global gay rights

Louis-Georges Tin goes on hunger strike to get French President François Hollande to call for decriminalization of homosexuality in the UN
Francois Hollande meeting with Louis-Georges Tin on 10 May when he apparently promised to sponsor a UN declaration decriminalizing homosexuality worldwide.

Three men have started a hunger strike to try to force French President François Hollande to ask the UN to decriminalize homosexuality worldwide.

Louis-Georges Tin, the founder of International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) says Hollande had promised to bring in a resolution in the United Nations ordering the decriminalization of homosexuality.

Tin was behind the declaration on gay and lesbian issues read in the General Assembly of the UN in 2008 but the new resolution is considered more binding on member states while a declaration supporting gay rights is just seen as a recommendation.

Tin met with Hollande on 10 May and asked him to introduce the resolution in the UN. He agreed.

However, now Tin fears the president is going back on his word. That’s why Tin and two other IDAHO committee members, Alexandre Marcel, and Usaam Mukwaya (a gay Ugandan refugee), have started a hunger strike.

The IDAHO founder said: ‘This is an emergency: without the support of the United States, no resolution on this issue will be possible. But at the end of the year, the Republicans may win the elections in the USA, and should this happen, they would not provide great support for such a resolution, obviously.

‘That's why this opportunity should not be missed. The resolution must be brought in before November, and should be announced now. François Hollande claimed that he could agree on this, and committed to bring in the text in the UN.’

Tin has been working on this resolution since 2009. Several ministers of foreign affairs in France, and including the former president, Nicolas Sarkozy, had told him they would support this initiative, but none of them ever did anything.

Tin says they claimed the delays were due to the emergencies in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Afghanistan, Greece, Syria and elsewhere.

‘Each time, gays and lesbians had to wait in their jails, and the issue was postponed. However, in more than 80 countries, homosexuality is still regarded as a crime, punishable by death in seven countries,’ he said. ‘In many countries, people are sent to jail just because of their love. But love is no crime.’

The hunger strike, which the IDAHO group had warned the French government about, is happening as Paris prepares to celebrate Gay Pride on 30 June, one of the biggest LGBT celebrations in Europe.

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