First ministerial UN meeting on protection of gay rights held

September 27, 2013

On 26 September 2013 many countries attended the first ministerial meeting held at the United Nations on the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals.

(UN Photo/Amanda Voisard)

Foreign ministers attending the meeting, held on the margins of the General Assembly’s annual high-level debate, adopted a declaration pledging not just to protect LGBT rights but also to counter homophobic and transphobic attitudes. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay commended

their resolve to act, but stressed many more challenges remain on this issue…….More than 76 countries still criminalize consensual adult same-sex relationships, while in many more countries discrimination against LGBT people is widespread. 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 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.

Ms. Pillay noted that it is not just LGBT people who face discrimination but also human rights defenders speaking on LGBT issues who in many countries are routinely the victims of violence, intimidation and police harassment and risk prosecution and sometimes legal sanctions.

Our campaign on behalf of marginalized communities will meet resistance, even opposition. We must not be discouraged. We must stay engaged. Let us keep voicing our concerns, let us keep finding new allies, sharing good practice and standing fast alongside local human rights defenders on the front lines of this struggle.”

Those present at the meeting included the United States Secretary of State, the foreign ministers of Argentina, Brazil, Croatia, the Netherlands and Norway, the French minister for development cooperation and senior officials from Japan, New Zealand and the European Union, as well as the executive directors of Human Rights Watch and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission.

United Nations News Centre – At UN meeting, countries commit to protect gay rights, combat discrimination.

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