‘Love is a human right’ campaign wins support in Lewes

Picture by Katie Vandyck
Picture by Katie Vandyck

Rainbow-coloured banners and balloons were used to celebrate the human right to love at a Lewes Amnesty International Group stall on Saturday.

More than 160 signatures were added to petitions and postcards calling for human rights to be protected regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

The stall in Cliffe Precinct was part of Lewes Amnesty Group’s campaign on LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex) human rights.

Lewes people added their signatures to calls for justice for individuals around the world who have faced persecution and human rights violations because of their sexual orientation.

Cases highlighted included those of Noxolo Nogwaza, a South African human rights campaigner who was raped, beaten and stabbed to death because she was a lesbian; and Ihar Tsikhanyuk, who was reportedly beaten and threatened by Belarus police after he set up a gay rights organisation.

But Lewes Amnesty Group also highlighted the recent acquittal of Elena Klimova, who had been charged with “promoting non-traditional sexual relationships” in Russia after she set up a website offering health advice and emotional support to LGBTI teenagers. Lewes Amnesty had been amongst human rights groups around the world who organised petitions to the Russian authorities calling for the charges against her to be dropped.

Lewes Amnesty International Group LGBTI campaign co-ordinator Rosemary Wadsworth said: “Just like freedom of thought and expression, the freedom to love and be treated as an equal citizen regardless of personal sexual desires or consenting sexual behaviour is a basic human right – recognised under international law. Despite this, same-sex relations are outlawed in 78 countries. Globally, many people face imprisonment, persecution, discrimination, torture and even the death penalty simply due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“We have been delighted by the support shown by people in Lewes for the ‘Love is a Human Right’ campaign today. It has been an overwhelmingly positive response.

“The recent clearing of all charges against Elena Klimova demonstrates the difference ordinary people can make.”