10th December 1948 and the UN General Assembly
adopts the ‘Universal Declaration of Human Rights’. It states that: “All human beings
are born free and equal in dignity and rights” Yet fast-forward to 2011 and the UN Human
Rights Council expresses “grave concern” at acts of violence and discrimination based
on sexual orientation and gender identity. All over the world, lesbian, gay, bisexual
and transgender, or LGBT people, are still being subjected to discrimination and acts
of brutal violence, torture, kidnapping – even murder.
In 76 countries, same-sex relationships are criminalized, in violation of basic rights.
These abuses must end. The tide is turning:
Since 1990 almost 40 countries have legalized same sex relationships
Many more have lawfully banned discrimination against LGBT people.
More and more countries now recognize the urgency and are pressing for action at the
UN. In the past 4 years this has led to: The first adopted UN resolution on the issue.
The first official UN report. And the first formal intergovernmental debate
at the UN Human Rights Council. On 26th July 2013, the UN launched ‘Free
& Equal’, a global campaign designed to raise awareness of homophobic and transphobic
violence and discrimination and to help stop millions of LGBT people being abused for being
who they are. We must protect the basic human rights of
LGBT people. But it doesn’t just require changes in laws and policies; it takes changes
in people’s hearts and minds. Like the struggle against racism.
Like the struggle for gender equality. The struggle for LGBT equality will only be
won if we join together, if we speak out, if we stand in the defense of the rights of
others. The time to do this is now.
Together, we can stop violence and discrimination against LGBT people.
Together, we can build a world that is ‘Free & Equal’.