By Melanie Nathan, September 26, 2014.
25 September 2014 – Bringing homophobia and transphobia to an end is “a great human rights cause,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said yesterday, 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.
Today The Human Rights Council of The United Nations approved a resolution condemning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
The Human Rights Council resolution, which was led by Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Uruguay, confirmed the similar 2011 resolution led by South Africa. The Resolution sets about asking the UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights to obtain information to overcome discrimination and violence.
Opponents of the resolution tried to defeat it with various amendments to exclude sexual orientation and gender identity, and tried to make it applicable only to countries who proactively declare support for sexual diversity and rights. All amendments were defeated and the resolution passed by 25 votes in favor, 14 against, and 7 abstentions.
The 25 in favor of the resolution included Western and Latin American nations, as well as South Africa, the Philippines and Vietnam.
Seven members including China and India abstained, while Benin’s ambassador was absent.
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 yesterday 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.”