UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called for the equal rights of LGBTI people to be recognised around the world.
On Tuesday, the LGBTI Core Group hosted its annual LGBTI Human Rights event at the United Nations headquarters in New York as world leaders gathered at the General Assembly.
The topic was violence against LGBTI individuals, and how to stop it. The event featured a pre-recorded speech in which Guterres addressed the meeting.
“The United Nations stands up for the rights of the LGBTI community. Many of its members are in prison, abused and even killed simply for who they are and whom they love,” said the Secretary-General.
He noted that progress had been made in recent years and praised this month’s landmark decision by the Supreme Court of India to legalise homosexuality.
“But so long as people face criminalisation, bias and violence based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or sex characteristics we must redouble our efforts to end these violations,” said Guterres.
“As we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, let me underscore that the United Nations will never give up the fight until everyone can live free and equal, in dignity and rights,” he affirmed.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, also delivered a speech at the packed event. She commented that, “There should be nothing ‘controversial’ about stopping people being murdered, or executed by agents of the State, simply because of who they are or whom they love. Tackling extreme violence does not require new norms.”
She added: “We need to see more countries taking steps to bring their laws and practices in line with the fundamental equality of all their people.”
Jessica Stern, Executive Director of OutRight Action International, welcomed Guterres’ “historic speech” and praised the passion with which Bachelet spoke. “We are so thankful for the great response and turnout we experienced from activists, supporters, allies and member states yesterday,” said Stern.
Around 70 nations around the world still criminalise same-sex relationships and transgender people.