In an unprecedented joint statement in no uncertain terms, 12 UN organisations* have spoken out for ending violence against and discrimination of lesbian women, homosexual men, bisexuals transgenders, and people with an intersex condition (LGBTIs).
“It is a first that so many members of the UN have joined forces to defend the fundamental rights of LGBTIs,” Charles Radcliffe, Chief of the Global Issues Section of the UN Human Rights Office, notes. “It is both an expression of the commitment of UN organisations and a powerful appeal to governments all over the world to put a stop to violence against and discrimination and abuse of gay and bisexual people, and people with an intersex condition.”
The statement highlights the connection between human rights violations of LGBTIs and bad health, the collapse of families, social and economic exclusion, and lost opportunities for development and economic growth. It clearly states which steps need to be taken to contain violence and to protect individual LGBTIs against discrimination. To accomplish this, it is necessary to take action to improve the study and reporting of hate crimes, reduce torture and abuse, outlaw discrimination, and dismantle laws that can now be used to arrest, punish or discriminate people because of their sexual orientation or gender expression.
Among other things, the UN organisations are advocating the decriminalisation of homosexual acts, are against treatments that are meant to change sexual orientation (‘gay healing’), are against medical tests to establish someone's sexual orientation (‘homosexuality tests’) and are against involuntary and potentially damaging medical procedures on intersex children.
“Violence against and discrimination of people on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and sexual features are a violation of human rights and ruin entire communities. That is the reason why UN organisations are working on a wide range of issues on a global scale – from human rights to health care, employment, developing aid, children's rights, gender equality, food security, and refugee policies – and are advocating change in unison,” Radcliffe notes. “It has important symbolic value, but the practical recommendations are even more important. We hope that our statement will contribute to a blueprint for governments and to the work of the UN teams that are active world-wide.”
The joint UN statement Ending Violence and Discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex People is endorsed by the following 12 UN organisations:
International Labour Organisation (ILO)
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
World Food Programme (WFP)
World Health Organisation (WHO)