Mon, 14 May 2018
No5 Barristers’ Chambers’ S Chelvan has returned from Greece where he was part of a 50-strong meeting of experts from four continents who drafted, agreed and signed up to the Mytilini Declaration – “creating a framework of respect for the rights of missing and dead refugees and migrants and bereaved family members”.
In opening the two days of the Last Rights meeting in Lesvos, Greece on 10-11 May, Syd Bolton, who co-chaired the meeting with Catriona Jarvis highlighted, “[t]oo many have fallen by the wayside – never reaching their destination … people dying in detention centres, in containers … [Our aim is for] good practice underpinned by human rights principles – to provide closure.”
S Chelvan on the Friday morning provided specific insight into the needs for recognition and protection of LGBT+ migrants, where the majority of cases involve fleeing persecution arising from ill-treatment by the hands of families. Chelvan highlighted the need to provide equality of treatment based on gender identity or expression and sexual orientation/identity, a principle adopted and expressed clearly in the pre-amble to the Declaration. The meeting agreed the definition of family will have to be an expansive definition, to include same-sex relationships to constitute family members, a point to be explored in more detail in a Protocol to focus on Identity.
In signing the Declaration, Chelvan added his name to fellow signatories including the UN Special rapporteur for extra-judicial killing, with the “Mytilini Declaration for the Dignified Treatment of all Missing and Deceased Persons and their Families as a Consequence of Migrant Journies”.