For Immediate Release
Roberta Sklar, Press Secretary, IGLHRC
(United Nations, New York, Dec 8)The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and Human Rights Watch, in coordination with a coalition of State Members of the United Nations, today organized a panel about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) human rights around the world. The panel, titled “Stop Bullying, Ending Violence and Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity,” included UN representatives from the Office of the Secretary General, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and human rights defenders from Nigeria, Lebanon, Thailand and the United States. The event, held in the ECOSOC chamber of the United Nations headquarters and open to the public, was followed by a question and answer session with panelists and attendees.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 10, 1948. Today’s panel commemorates International Human Rights Day at UN headquarters with a focus on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender human rights.
In opening remarks, Ivan Šimonović, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights referring to the High Commissioner's forthcoming study on discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity said: "The fact that a report of this kind is being published is in itself a sign of progress at the United Nations, and a reflection of growing awareness globally of the seriousness and legitimacy of concern about the treatment of LGBT people. I hope it will provide a basis for constructive dialogue, including with States who have until now been reticent about engaging in discussion of this issue."
Human Rights Defenders brought home the reality that violent acts committed against youth based on their sexual orientation or gender identity is a global phenomenon Doi Nakpor, based in Chiang Mai, Thailand, an outreach worker at Mplus Foundation and co-founder of the Thai Transgender Network, focused on her work to prevent HIV/AIDS and promote human rights for men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender youth. Ifeanyi Kelly Orazulike, of Abuja, Nigeria, Executive Director of the International Center for Advocacy on the Right to Health (ICARH) and National Coordinator of Sexual Minorities Against AIDS in Nigeria (SMAAN), spoke of the recent passage of homophobic legislation in Nigeria and the need for an international outcry to prevent it from being signed into law. Judy Shepard, based in Wyoming, United States and Co-Founder of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, speaking of the homophobic violent attack that led to the murder of her 20-year old son, Mathew Shepard, described ten years of public education and lobbying required passing anti-hate crimes legislation in the United States. Nadine Moawad based in Beirut, Lebanon, a coordinator at the Coalition for Sexual and Bodily Rights in Muslim Societies and feminist activist, included consideration of the sexual and bodily rights of youth of all sexual and gender identities.
Closing the panel, Philippe Kridelka, Director. UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (NY Office) spoke of the agency’s programming to combat homophobic and transphobic bullying.
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"Sadly, even as we commemorate International Human Rights Day, states such as Nigeria, the Ukraine and Russia are considering unprecedented homophobic legislation and Cameroon increases arrests and Incarceration of men who have done nothing more than love one and other.” said Jessica Stern, Acting Executive Director, International Gay and Lesbian Human Commission. “What lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth need are policies to ensure that they are safe have access to life-saving, comprehensive sex education, receive non-discriminatory services in times of crisis, and are not unjustly criminalized by sodomy and so-called cross dressing laws that deny their basic identity.”
"We hear from human rights defenders around the world that whether at school, on the playground, or in the streets, violence and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth is perpetuated by States and individuals that promote intolerance," said Boris Dittrich, Advocacy Director, Lesbian Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Program, Human Rights Watch.
"Today our most important question is, how can we as NGOs, we as UN member states, and we as individual human rights defenders reach those who perpetuate prejudice, and how can we help put an end to these unacceptable practices?”
To join the conversation about this event on Twitter, tweet with the hashtag: #StopBullying
For additional information go to:
- Coalition for Sexual and Bodily Rights in Muslim Countries: www.wwhr.org/csbr.php
- Human Rights Watch: www.hrw.org
- International Center for Advocacy on the right to Health (ICARH): www.amsher.net/icarh/
- International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission: www.IGLHRC.org
- Mathew Shepard Foundation: www.matthewshepard.org
- Mplus Foundation: www.mplusthailand.com/indexengafao00.html
- Sexual Minorities Against AIDS in Nigeria (SMAAN): www.amsher.net/smaan
Published on December 8, 2011 | OutRight Action International an LGBT human rights organization