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A united lobbying & campaigning group for sexual minorities in Northern Ireland
 
Human Rights Consortium - Campaigning for a Strong and Inclusive Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland
 

Contact CoSO:

CoSO
Cathedral Buildings
64 Donegall Street
BELFAST
BT1 2GT

T: +44 (0) 2890 890 201
F: +44 (0) 2890 278 654
E: admin@coso.org.uk

 

Getting ready for their big dayWelcome to the Coalition on Sexual Orientation (CoSO)

The Coalition on Sexual Orientation was established by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) groups in Northern Ireland in order to provide a voice for the LGBT Community in debates and consultations surrounding the rights of the community.

CoSO aspires to represent the LGBT Community on issues around sexual orientation. CoSO acts as an umbrella body with which public authorities may consult in order to fulfil their statutory duty to promote equal opportunities irrespective of sexual orientation. It seeks to ensure that the concerns of the entire LGBT Community are adequately articulated and acted upon.

This website aims to keep interested individuals and organisations updated on our on-going work.

 
 

CoSO supports new LGBT community groups across Northern Ireland

23 September 2008

The Coalition on Sexual Orientation (CoSO) is facilitating and supporting the setup of community groups for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people in the Fermanagh/Enniskillen, Dungannon/Cookstown, Banbridge/Craigavon and Lisburn areas.

A number of LGBT groups have been set up around NI over the last two years including in Strabane, Limavady and Causeway. Members of these groups have reported that they enjoy attending meetings and social events and feel that this has reduced their feelings of isolation.

Meetings with representatives from the PSNI, the local Councils, the DPP, and community organisations have already taken place, and the next step was to invite people who would be interested in getting involved with these groups to attend initial meetings.

To date, initial meetings for all groups have taken place. These meetings have been positive, constructive, well attended and have attracted a wide variety of individuals.

A Bebo page has been set up for each group.  Please click on the link below for the preferred group:

Lisburn:  www.bebo.com/LisburnL4
Fermanagh: www.bebo.com/FErmanaghlgbt
Dungannon/Cookstown:
www.bebo.com/DUngannoncookstL
Banbridge/Craigavon:
 www.bebo.com/BanbridgeCraigaL

Should you require any further information or would like to register your interest please contact Cara on 028 9089 0203/07900 845434 or email cara@coso.org.uk

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CoSO submits response to the review of NI Assembly Code of Conduct for MLAs

4 August 2008

CoSO has today submitted its response on the review of the Code of Conduct relating to MLAs to the NI Assembly's Committee on Standards and Privileges.

Read the submission here>>

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CoSO update on recent public meeting in response to Iris Robinson's homophobic statements

24 June 2008

The Coalition on Sexual Orientation (CoSO) and interested individuals in the LGBT community organised a public meeting in Belfast on 16 June to bring together people concerned by the recent homophobic statements by Iris Robinson MP MLA.

The meeting (facilitated by the broadcaster William Crawley) provided a forum for over 100 people of a wide variety of backgrounds, to air their views and to offer suggestions on future actions for CoSO and other LGBT community organisations.

If you'd like to read a summary of action points and details of recent meetings with political representatives on the matter, click here.

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CoSO condemns the recent statements of Iris Robinson MP MLA

9 June 2008

The Coalition on Sexual Orientation (CoSO) condemns the statements made by Iris Robinson on the Stephen Nolan (BBC Radio Ulster) Show, in the wake of another vicious attack on a member of our Community.

We are deeply concerned that these comments, unfortunately not new in Northern Ireland, have been made by an MLA / MP who is a public servant and as such, bound by the ‘Seven Principles of Public Life’ – acting in the public interest – this includes ALL people of ALL identities.

CoSO deplores statements such as those made, which have potentially life threatening consequences and which could be construed as ’incitement to hatred’.

CoSO calls on all MLAs from across the political spectrum to condemn the comments made by Iris Robinson, and to hold those who break public trust by discriminating against a section of the public i.e. the LGB Community, to account.

CoSO also calls on our social partners, across the equality and human rights spectrum, to support us in challenging these comments and to raise these issues with their MLAs and public representatives.

CoSO believes that the comments are at best damaging and at worst dangerous; furthermore they are completely unacceptable – indeed an abomination - in pursuance of an inclusive society based on values of dignity, respect and equality.

Mairead McCafferty & James Knox, Co-Chairs of CoSO

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CoSO welcomes handover of Bill of Rights Forum recommendations

31 March 2008

The Coalition on Sexual Orientation (CoSO) today welcomed the handover of the final Recommendations of the Bill of Rights Forum to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission.

Mairead McCafferty and James Knox, Co-Chairs of CoSO commented that “we believe this is a significant step forward in the protection of LGBT People's Rights in Northern Ireland and ultimately has the potential to have a profound effect on the Rights of LGBT People here and further afield, although we are still at the beginning of the process”.

Continuing, they stated that “this is possibly one of the first opportunities anywhere in the world where LGBT people have had an opportunity to use the ‘Yogyakarta Principles’* to ‘inform’ the drafting of a Bill of Rights”. As such N. Ireland should be proud of acknowledging the need to protect, promote and fulfil the Rights of, not only LGBT people but potentially all our marginalised and/or disadvantaged Communities.

To raise awareness of the development of the Bill of Rights in Northern Ireland, CoSO hosted a series of successful events across Northern Ireland to engage local LGBT Communities and Individuals in the process of drafting recommendations for a Bill of Rights for N. Ireland.

The work of the Forum is now complete and the Report / Recommendations will go forward to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission as part of their statutory duty to progress a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland.

* Yogyakarta Principles – so named as this is where they were drafted in Indonesia, by leading Human Rights Experts from across the World – signatories to the Principles include Mary Robinson and Michael O’Flaherty – Ireland and Stephen Whittle and Judith Mesquita – UK and Robert Wintemute – UK and Canada.

Read the full CoSO statement>>

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CoSO hosted major conference on "Sexual Orientation Equality, Human Rights and Our Shared Future" on Saturday 17 November

updated 3 February 2008

Patricia Prendiville, Executive Director of ILGA-EuropeHans Ytterberg, Sweden's Ombudsman against Discrimination on grounds of sexual orientationThe conference was held as part of Anti-Homophobia Northern Ireland (AHNI) 2007. AHNI was established by CoSO in 2004 to help place an annual focus on issues of sexual orientation discrimination, hate, equality and human rights. AHNI reinforces the message that we all need to play our part in challenging discrimination against LGBT people in Northern Ireland.

This major conference featured speakers from across the UK and Ireland and further afield, including:

A selection of the speakers' presentations can be downloaded (Powerpoint PPT format):

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LGB Voluntary Organisations Grant Fund - grants have been allocated to successful LGB groups

updated 3 February 2008

The lesbian, gay and bisexual Sector has received a financial package of support from the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister. This package is being managed by the Coalition on Sexual Orientation (CoSO) on behalf of the Sector and a Steering Group made of up CoSO member organisations, non-CoSO LGB organisations and a representative from OFMDFM sit on this group and oversee the Project.

This project has provided the opportunity to offer a one off small grant opportunity to LGB groups and organisations across the LGB sector in Northern Ireland.

Applications to this fund were invited by 30 November 2007. A number of LGB organisations have been successful and have received grants to undertake specific projects in accordance with the overall aims of the LGB Sector Project.

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CoSO presented Information Seminars across Northern Ireland on the Bill of Rights

December 2007

According to an online poll from the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission more than 80 per cent of people surveyed believe that there is a need for a Bill of Rights in Northern Ireland.

The Bill of Rights is on the political agenda, particularly through the work of the Bill of Rights Forum, and CoSO believes it is important that the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) community has an input.

To raise awareness of the development of the Bill of Rights, CoSO hosted a series of events to engage local LGBT communities and individuals in the current consultation process for the Bill of Rights.

CoSO hosted four seminars focused on local LGBT communities in L’Derry (12 November), Newry (14 November), North Down and Ards (26 November) and Causeway (3 December), to find out more about LGBT needs and issues relevant to the Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland.

Further details can be found in this press release.

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Coalition on Sexual Orientation condemns Ian Paisley Junior’s comments as dangerous and nothing short of incitement to hatred!

31 May 2007

The Coalition on Sexual Orientation is seriously concerned with the comments which have been quoted in Hot Press Magazine and reported widely in the Northern Ireland media.

We are deeply concerned that the comments, unfortunately not new in our society, have been made by a Junior Minister / MLA at the heart of government in Northern Ireland.

To this end CoSO has sought a meeting with the First and Deputy First Ministers, to assuage the very real and potentially life threatening consequences of actions and words such as those given recent media attention and which have led to nothing short of incitement to hatred.

CoSO calls on all MLAs from across the political spectrum to condemn the comments made by the Minister and to hold those who break the pledge of office and Ministerial code, in such fundamentally important areas as equality and human rights, to account.

Read the full CoSO statement>>

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LATEST NEWS
CoSO supports new LGBT community groups across Northern Ireland
23 September 2008
read more
CoSO submits response to review of MLAs' Code of Conduct
4 August 2008
read more
CoSO update on public meeting in response to statements of Iris Robinson
24 June 2008
read more
CoSO condemns recent statements of Iris Robinson MP MLA
9 June 2008
read more
CoSO welcomes handover of Bill of Rights Forum recommendations
Monday 31 March 2008 read more
CoSO Conference
Sexual Orientation Equality, Human Rights & Our Shared Future. Saturday 17 November read more
LGB Grant Fund
Grants allocated to successful LGB groups. read more
CoSO presented Bill of Rights Information Seminars
Across NI last November & December. read more
Hate Crimes
The PSNI offer this advice to anyone wishing to report a homophobic incident. read more
 

 

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World AIDS Day
1st December 2007

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