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17 September 2014

AFM Denies discrimination on basis of sexual orientation

 - Tuesday, 09 February 2010, 00:00

by Chiara Bonello

None of the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) rules or regulations discriminate in any way against potential or actual members on the basis of sexual orientation, a government spokesperson said.

This comment came in reply to a BBC report last week, claiming that Malta was one of the 10 EU member states which did not allow for gay people to serve openly in the armed forces.

According to a different government spokesperson the study lists two appendices; both of them list the nations which are party to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

The first list is of those nations which are party to this convention, and which have also since lifted this ban on gay persons serving in the armed forces. The second list outlines those countries which have not yet lifted this ban.

Malta is indeed party to the convention, he said, although it does not feature on either list. Since the ban never existed in Malta in the first place, there was no need for any ban to be lifted he said.

Still, what one can deduce is that since there was no ban to be lifted in the first place, the author of the article must have assumed the ban was still implemented in Malta.

In the UK the law had to be changed, when a case brought by four British ex-service personnel to the European Court of Human Rights in 1999 resulted in a verdict that this was a violation of the right to privacy, under the European Convention on Human Rights.

This makes it apparent that similar cases could be brought against other countries, which are also party to the convention. Until then, there is no obligation to change the rules.

A number of openly gay persons currently serve in the AFM, and there is no issue whatsoever when it comes to a person’s sexual orientation, the spokesperson said, and there never has been.

The attitude with the AFM is one of “live and let live”, and no person will be denied entry into the AFM based on the fact that they are openly gay. A person’s postings and duties depend on their qualifications, not their sexual orientation, the spokesperson said.

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