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Three Pacific nations tell UN they won’t decriminalize

HONOLULU (Pacific Islands Report, Oct. 22, 2011) – Samoa, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea have reportedly refused to decriminalize homosexuality despite pledges by Palau and Nauru to the United Nations to do so.

According to The Associated Press, Palau and Nauru made the commitment following a review by the UN Human Rights Council.

Fiji changed its laws early last year.

In Papua New Guinea, UNAIDS coordinator Stuart Watson told Radio Australia that laws against homosexuality are a legacy of the colonial era, AP reported.

Mr Watson said the organization was aware of the "cultural and religious sensitivities" around people who have sex with members of their own sex. But we believe lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities should enjoy human rights as well as any other individual in society."

[PIR editor’s note: According to Matilda Bogner, the Regional Representative for the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Right, Pacific Island countries have overwhelmingly condemned violence based on sexual orientation.]

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