Bringing homophobia and transphobia to an end is “a great human rights cause,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today, adding that the fight against discrimination “lies at the core of the mission of the United Nations.”
In his video message to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Core Group Ministerial Event, the Secretary-General stressed his strong support for equal rights for LGBT people everywhere, underlined the UN’s own efforts towards eliminating discrimination within the Organization and voiced concern over the widespread harassment members of the LGBT community continue to face around the world.
“I speak out against the appallingly high levels of stigma, discrimination and violence people suffer because of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” he said.
More than 76 countries still criminalize consensual adult same-sex relationships, while in many more countries discrimination against LGBT people is widespread – including in the workplace and in the education and health sectors.
A study carried out by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) drew on almost two decades worth of work by UN human rights mechanisms and found a “deeply disturbing pattern of violence and discriminatory laws and practices” affecting people on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity.
The Secretary-General noted that although many Member States disagreed with the concept of LGBT rights, the world “cannot back off from human rights protection just because governments differ on certain issues.”
“It may be tough – but that will never stop us from pressing ahead,” Mr. Ban continued.
“We are not here to tackle only easy matters, or to discuss only what everyone agrees on already. We are here to protect the rights of all people, everywhere.”