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MEXICO BANS DISCRIMINATION, ILGA TARGETS EU'S NEW MEMBERS
by REX WOCKNER
2003-04-30

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MEXICO BANS DISCRIMINATION

Mexico's Congress banned discrimination based on 'sexual preferences' in mid-April, according to the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission.

Article 4 of the Federal Law to Prevent and Eliminate Discrimination also bans discrimination based on ethnic or national origin, sex, age, disability, social or economic status, health, pregnancy, language, religion, opinion and civil status.

It further bans discrimination based on an individual's decision to 'openly acknowledge one's sexual preference,' be that via 'dress, talk [or] mannerisms.'

The law applies in the areas of education, employment, medical care, social security benefits, public services, private institutions providing public services, reproductive rights, property rights, sports, cultural and recreation activities, civil and political organizations, media messages and images, and free movement.

It criminalizes exploitation, degredation and physical or psychological abuse against protected individuals and prohibits promoting or engaging in hatred, violence, rejection, ridicule, defamation, slander, persecution and exclusion toward protected groups.

In the case of violations by public officials, the newly created National Council to Prevent Discrimination will demand an explanation from the accused party, call a conciliation hearing, and suggest solutions. If a solution is not forthcoming, the council will punish proven violators.

In the case of violations by private entities or individuals, the council will suggest a concilation hearing and mediate between the parties.

ILGA TARGETS EU'S NEW MEMBERS

Ten more nations will join the 15-member European Union on May 1, 2004, and the International Lesbian & Gay Association says that makes it more important than ever that the EU's new constitution directly protect GLBT rights.

Unlike many current EU nations, several of the incoming nations have a less-than-impressive record on gay issues. The accession countries are Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia.

The EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights prohibits anti-gay discrimination and the EU's Employment Directive 2000/78/EC requires member nations to protect gays in the workplace.

'But doubts remain with regard to the accession countries' willingness to embrace these values and policies to their full extent,' said ILGA Public Affairs Officer Birgit Hardt.

'Despite clear statements by Enlargement Commissioner G√ľnter Verheugen that 'the prohibition of discrimination based on sexual orientation is part of the political criteria of accession to the EU,' there is mounting evidence of hesitation to accept this.'

Only protection via the EU constitution itself can secure respect for GLBT rights across the socially divergent 25-nation union, ILGA said.


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