High-Level Meeting on Role of United Nations to End Violence and Discrimination against LGBT People

Media Contact: Roberta Sklar, rsklar@iglhrc.org; 917-704-6358

September 26, 2013, New York—The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) welcomed an unprecedented Ministerial Meeting at the United Nations on September 26 to address violence and discrimination against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.

At the closed-door meeting 10 Member States, in a joint declaration, stated:

“We, ministers of Argentina, Brazil, Croatia, France, Israel, Japan, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and United States, and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy – members of the LGBT Core Group at the United Nations – hereby declare our strong and determined commitment to eliminating violence and discrimination against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.”

The historic meeting provided a forum for ministers and other high-level representatives of Member States, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and representatives of Human Rights Watch and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) to discuss advancements for protecting the human rights of LGBT persons, and to secure commitments from Member States to this end.

Participants at the Ministerial meeting on the Role of the United Nations in Ending Violence and Discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT). UN Photo/Amanda Voisard

Jessica Stern, executive director of IGLHRC, delivered remarks, saying:

“As we celebrate this historic meeting, I want to acknowledge that we are not in an easy fight. It is not a fight for a comma or the mere mention of LGBT people in a UN resolution. It is, for many, a fight for our lives. It is, fundamentally, a fight about privilege. Privilege based on gender and sexuality, but inextricably linked to race, bodily autonomy, class, health status, and every other movement for universal human rights. It bears remembering that the rights of the most vulnerable are a litmus test to the strength of the rule of law for all.”

Representatives of Member States in attendance articulated their full commitment to tackling these human rights violations domestically, including continued attention to the impact of current policies, and internationally, including through concerted action at the United Nations.

  • To read the declaration in full, visit: Ministerial Declaration
  • Remarks by Member States will be posted to IGLHRC’s website as they become available.

Background

A landmark 2011 study by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, drawing on two decades of human rights patterns, found that 76 countries criminalize adult same-sex consensual relationships. The study revealed that States discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace, education and health sectors. In addition, hate-motivated violence against LGBT people is present in various regions, which include but are not limited to, physical assault, sexual violence and targeted killings.