UN Agencies Urge End to LGBTI Discrimination, Violence
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Twelve UN agencies have issued a joint statement calling for an end to violence and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) adults, adolescents and children, and setting set out specific steps to protect these individuals.

The statement was released ahead of a high-level event, which marked the first time so many UN agencies have come together to defend LGBTI rights, according to Charles Radcliffe, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

OHCHR29 September 2015: Twelve UN agencies have issued a joint statement calling for an end to violence and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) adults, adolescents and children, and set out specific steps to protect these individuals. The statement was released ahead of a high-level event, and marked the first time so many UN agencies have come together to defend LGBTI rights, according to Charles Radcliffe, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

The event, titled ‘Leaving No-One Behind: Equality & Inclusion in the Post-2015 Development Agenda,’ took place on 29 September 2015, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly’s 70th annual debate, in New York, US. Participants highlighted linkages between protecting the rights of LGBTI people and progress toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the SDGs will only be fully realized when no one, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, is left behind. He explained that data indicate that gay and lesbian people suffer disproportionate discrimination and abuse in many countries, and frequently are rejected by their families, kicked out of their homes and schools, and remain jobless. He said the situation for transgender people is even worse, calling such treatment “a shameful waste of human talent, ingenuity and economic potential.”

Ban said he has been urging world leaders whose countries have harsh domestic policies toward LBGTI people to change their policies, noting he will continue to fight until all people can live “without suffering any intimidation or discrimination.”

Radcliffe also said governments must do more to tackle homophobic and transphobic violence and discrimination.

Other speakers included Frans Timmermans, EU Commission, and Festus Mogae, former President of of Botswana.

In at least 76 countries, discriminatory laws criminalize private, consensual same-sex relationships, exposing millions of people to the possibility of arrest, prosecution and imprisonment, and, in five countries, the death penalty. The joint statement discusses how laws are used to detain and discriminate, while laws that criminalize cross-dressing are used to arrest and punish transgender people, perpetuate stigma and discrimination, police abuse and torture, and hinder access to health and HIV treatment and services.

The statement also outlines steps government can take to stop violence and discrimination, including improving the monitoring, reporting and investigation of hate crimes. On violence, the statement urges investigating, prosecuting and providing remedy for acts of violence, torture and ill-treatment against the LGBTI community, and incorporating homophobia and transphobia as aggravating factors in laws against hate crime and speech. On repealing discriminatory laws, the statement calls for reviewing, repealing and establishing a moratorium on laws that criminalize same-sex conduct between consenting adults, as well as those that criminalize transgender people, and laws used to arrest, punish or discriminate based on sexual orientation. On protecting individuals from discrimination, the statement urges: prohibiting discrimination against LGBTI adults, adolescents and children in all contexts; ensuring legal recognition of the gender identity of transgender people; and ensuring that LGBTI people are consulted and participate in the design, implementation and monitoring of laws, policies and programmes that affect them.

The event was organized by the LGBT Core Group, a cross-regional group including the governments of Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, El Salvador, France, Israel, Japan, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, UK, Uruguay, US, and the EU, as well as OHCHR, Human Rights Watch and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. [Joint Statement] [UN Press Release] [OHCHR Press Release] [Statement of UN Secretary-General] [Event Flyer] [UNDP Blog Post] [Webcast]

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