UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has spoken out in advance of International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO).
Fighting prejudice against sexuality and gender identity through education will be the theme of this year’s IDAHO which will be commemorated by almost 40 countries on 17 May.
In the video Pillay discusses the human cost of homophobia and transphobia, with many people across the world being ‘arrested, signalled out, being tortured, or even killed just for being in a loving relationship’.
She says: ‘When I raise these issues, some complain I’m pushing for new rights, or special rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people. But there is nothing new or special about the right to life and security of person, the right to freedom from discrimination.
‘These and other rights are universal. Enshrined in international law, but denied to many of our fellow human beings simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.’
It is estamated that in 76 states having a partner of the same sex is a criminal offence.
She adds: ‘States must repeal discriminatory laws and ban discriminatory practices. Punish violence and hatred, not love. The best antidote is education for children and adults alike.
‘Reach out, talk, learn, and help make our world safer for everyone. With your help and the support of millions of people who believe in universal human rights, we will secure equal rights for every last one of us.’
A Facebook page has been set up where people can share their stories and ideas on how to make schools better.
The IDAHO committee is in discussions with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization about publishing the most powerful stories in a book.
To find out more about planned events visit the IDAHO May 17 Around the World webpage.
Watch the video here: