2141782788Israel: The National Union of Israeli Students (NUIS) has officially urged the government to ensure equal rights for the LGBT community.

The union presidium voted unanimously to take a stand to actively join in the struggle to achieve LGBT rights and equality in Israel, reports jpost.com. The meeting was held with participation of all chairpersons from student associations of higher education institutions in Israel.

“The historic role of the student body is to lead to social change and in particular struggles concerning basic civil rights” Ori Reshtick, chairman of the NUIS told jpost.com because “members of the gay community still live as second class citizens in Israel and we will not accept it.”

The union has taken an unprecedented bold step and places itself in line alongside all citizens of Israel regardless of religion, race, gender, and sexual orientation,” Reshtick said.

In its official position paper published April 2, the NUIS called on the government, authorities, the Knesset to act to ensure that LGBT couples are awarded the same rights regarding individual and familial statuses, reports jpost.com.

The student union believes that every person has the natural right to life with dignity, as an equal human in society and that it is the State’s obligation to protect their body and life and not allow discrimination between citizens on the basis of religion, gender, race and not on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity or any other characteristic, the NUIS position paper said.

It also called on Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich and the Police not to excuse crimes committed against the LGBT community.

“Violence against members of the gay community is too widespread, and the response from the Israeli police and the judicial system is partial at best, when crimes against the gay community are not defined as hate crimes and the perpetrators receive reduced penalties,” the position paper read.

The NUIS also urged Education Minister Shai Piron to place an emphasis on recognition, tolerance and acceptance of sexual identities and gender diversities in the national curricula as well as improve educational counseling and the attention of teachers to identifying and dealing with such issues.

This was required because research has indicated that a quarter of LGBT youth reported sexual harassment at school and one in ten experienced physical violence,  and that teachers often did not respond or take action.

The Israeli parliament on March 11 passed a law prohibiting discrimination in schools against students on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Source: jpost.com