Tuesday, October 13, 2009

San Marinian Secretary of State Probed for Alleged Discrimination

The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of San Marino, Antonella Mularoni, was interviewed today (13th October 2009) by the San Marinian Equal Opportunities Commission about the decision to revoke Federico Podeschi from the role of Honorary Consul to San Marino in Wales.

Honorary Consul Podeschi was allegedly discriminated against by the Secretary Mularoni back in March 2009. The Consul had been admonished for issuing a press release as President of LGBT San Marino, a community group that campaigns for the rights of LGBT people. In the press release, he reminded governments that signed the Universal Declaration on Human Rights of their responsibility to protect all citizens from discrimination and incitement to hatred such as that released by the Pope for Christmas 2008.

Shortly after, Federico Podeschi received an invitation in his capacity as Chief Executive Officer of the LGBT Excellence Centre Wales to celebrate LGBT History Month with Gordon Brown at Downing Street. Secretary Mularoni, however, insisted that Mr Podeschi refuse the invitation from the Prime Minister. This was not within the powers of the Secretary to request and she gave no explanation as to why Consul Podeschi should not attend. Mr Podeschi attended the event in a personal and professional, rather than diplomatic, capacity.

Within a matter of days, the Secretary had asked the government to revoke Mr Podeschi's diplomatic title - a move that provoked much political and press comment. When pressed, Secretary Mularoni declared to the press that the relationship of trust with the Consul came to an end because Federico Podeschi had “violently attacked” another head of state (the Pope). She also accused Mr Podeschi of disobeying orders that had been given, but did not reveal what those orders might have been.

On 10th July, Federico Podeschi was called to give his version of the facts to the Commission for Equal Opportunities in the Republic that has the role to establish whether the decision of the Secretary Mularoni was justified or whether she discriminated against Consul Podeschi on the grounds of his sexual orientation.

An important and high profile role for the Commission at the meeting today will be to establish whether a head of state can be guilty of illegal discrimination against another government official. The case could in fact have repercussions on human rights and discrimination case law for gay people around the globe.

No comments: