Statement by the Equal Rights Coalition on the decriminalization of same-sex activity between men in the Cook Islands

31 May 2023

The Equal Rights Coalition (ERC) applauds the recent passing of the Crimes (Sexual Offences) Amendment Bill in the Cook Islands, effectively paving the way for the decriminalization of same sex activity between men as of June 1st, 2023. This is a historic and significant step forward for LGBTQI+ rights in the country and the entire Pacific Island region. 

We acknowledge the hard work of activists and advocates who have tirelessly campaigned for this change, as well as the courage of the Cook Islands Parliament and the support of Prime Minister Mark Brown in passing this law. However, we also recognize that there is still much work to be done to ensure that all LGBTQI+ persons in the Cook Islands are fully protected and enjoy equal rights under the law.  

This is an important milestone on the road to full equality and inclusion for all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, or sex characteristics. As well, this is a vital step in undoing the lasting and harmful legacies of colonialism in the region, ensuring that the Cook Islands and all Pacific Island nations can create futures of solidarity and inclusion for their peoples. 

We stand in solidarity with all those who continue to fight for equality worldwide and will continue to support efforts to decriminalize the lives of LGBTQI+ people and promote their rights, dignity, and freedom around the world. As such, we encourage other Pacific Island nations to follow the example of the Cook Islands and repeal laws that continue to criminalize the lives and existence of LGBTQI+ people. We look forward to continuing to work together towards a world where all people can live with dignity, respect and equality.

Statement by the co-chairs, Germany and Mexico, on behalf of the Equal Rights Coalition. 

Category Statement, English

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