A report by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR) currently debated by the UN Human Rights Council found that discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity remains widespread and persistent throughout the world.
The council is due to pass a resolution on the matter next week, and human rights groups have urged it to take a strong stand against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Based on the findings of the report, Norway announced that it will propose a landmark resolution banning discrimination against LGBT people and their freedom of expression.
The report found that ‘discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity continues to affect millions of people in all regions.
‘Continued dialogue and reporting are needed to … mobilize support for measures, including the repeal of discriminatory laws, the prohibition of discriminatory practices and action to counter violence’.
Phil Lynch, director of the International Service for Human Right (ISHR) told Gay Star News that he welcomed Norway’s initiative and the timing of the debate is vital, as anti-gay bills are tabled for enactment, such as Uganda’s Kill The Gays bill and a nationwide Russian ban on ‘gay propaganda’.
Lynch said: ‘the time has come for the Human Rights Council to take a strong and principled stand in favour of equality and against homophobia and intolerance’.
Discrimination … remains widespread and persistent in all corners of the world.
‘It ranges from making homosexuality a capital offense in states such as Iran, to failing to take action to combat homophobic harassment and violence in states such as Moldova, the absence of laws prohibit LGBT discrimination in states such as Australia, through to opposing marriage equality’.
‘Such laws flagrantly violate international human rights standards.
‘There will come a time when discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity is considered to be as reprehensible and unacceptable as discrimination on the grounds of race or religion. States that fail to take action against LGBT discrimination are standing on the wrong side of history’.
Veteran human rights advocate, Peter Tatchell also welcomed UHRC’s initiative, adding: ‘Although the UN Human Rights Council has made declarations against homophobia and transphobia, it has still taken very little practical action to challenge countries where the persecution of LGBT people is rife.
‘We need more than words and good intentions. Much more pressure needs to be applied to bigoted regimes.
‘This includes UN appointed investigators going to countries and working with local LGBT organisations to gather evidence of persecution.
‘Offending nations need to be named and shamed, not just in the UN Human Rights Council but also in the General Assembly’.