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We must ‘redouble’ efforts for LGBTI equality, says United Nations

We must ‘redouble’ efforts for LGBTI equality, says United Nations

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres (Photo: Facebook)

The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, welcomed recent progress in LGBTI rights but urged the world to continue fighting for equality.

‘So long as people face criminalization, bias, and violence based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, or sex characteristics we must redouble our efforts to end these violations’, Guterres said at the UN General Assembly in New York.

He welcomed India’s ‘landmark’ decriminalization earlier this month. The Supreme Court of India ruled that Section 377 of the Penal Code was unconstitutional. The move decriminalized one-fifth of the world’s LGBT population.

But, Guterres warned, LGBTI people around the world still face persecution. ‘The United Nations stands up for the rights of the LGBTI community’ he said. ‘And will never give up the fight until everyone can live free and equal in dignity and rights’.

 

‘Change Minds’

Guterres’  comments were echoed by the UN’s human rights chief, Michelle Bachelet. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights also applauded India’s ruling. In her speech, she welcomed this and other ‘vital changes’ in progressing LGBTI rights.

Bachelet was speaking at a summit on LGBTI rights on the sidelines of the General Assembly.

She warned, however, that more than 70 countries worldwide continue to criminalize same-sex relationships. Transgender people are also criminalized based on their appearance.

‘These laws subject LGBT people to long prison sentences and in some cases physical punishment’ she said.  ‘They also implicitly encourage prejudice, hatred, and violence’.

Bachelet stressed the need to ‘change minds’ to prevent LGBTI violence sparked by prejudice and hate.

‘We will only prevent these crimes if we are brave enough to address these factors, across society’, she said.

Earlier this week at the General Assembly, K-Pop band BTS encouraged young people to ‘find their voice’.

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