New Zealand Deputy High Commissioner to the Cook Islands Helena Cook. PHOTO: AL WILLIAMS/21092901
Cook Islands New Zealand High Commission has put its weight behind a new sexual and gender diverse network partnership in the Pacific.
Deputy High Commissioner Helena Cook said on National Coming
Out Day October 11, New Zealand announced a new partnership with the Fiji-based
Pacific Sexual and Gender Diverse Network (PSGDN) to support the rights for
persons of diverse sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and
sex characteristics (SOGIESC) in the Pacific.
“In terms of benefit to the Cook Islands, PSGDN is actively
engaged in regional architecture such as the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), and
is committed to enhancing Pacific voices on SOGIESC-related rights
“The network spans 14 Pacific Island countries and
territories, including the Cook Islands,” Cook said.
In a statement from the New Zealand High Commission, $1
million has been committed to funding several key objectives.
A strengthened and well-resourced regional organisation capable of advancing SOGIESC-related rights in the Pacific;
Implementation of programmes at both domestic and regional levels that will support meaningful progress on SOGIESC-related rights;
A small sub-granting mechanism to support national level organisations; and
Greater Pacific participation and voices on SOGIESC-related issues in international fora.
Cook said New Zealand is committed to the realisation of
human rights for all people, including persons of diverse sexual orientation,
gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics.
“PSGDN is an important civil society organisation working to
advance SOGIESC-related rights in the Pacific, and for the well-being of
Pacific Islanders of diverse SOGIESC.
“Our partnership with PSGDN will provide funding to help
protect and advance the rights of all persons of diverse SOGIESC, and
SOGIESC-related rights in the Pacific.
Cook said Covid-19 had highlighted the critical need to
increase targeted support to disproportionately affected communities, such as
persons of diverse SOGIESC.
“New Zealand’s partnership acknowledges the challenges to
realising SOGIESC-related rights, and commits New Zealand to supporting the
enhancement of inclusive well-being and prosperity for all people in the