During a special sitting at the United Nations on January 25, 2010, Ban Ki-moon delivered a powerful statement calling for an end to human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Read the statement below:
“We must reject persecution of people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity … who may be arrested, detained or executed for being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
They may not have popular or political support, but they deserve our support in safeguarding their fundamental human rights. I understand that sexual orientation and gender identity raise sensitive cultural issues. But cultural practice can not justify any violation of human rights.
Women’s treatment as second-class citizens has been justified, at times, as a “cultural practice.” So has institutional racism and other forms of inhuman punishment.
But that is merely an excuse. When our fellow humans are persecuted because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, we must speak out.
That is what I am doing here, that is my consistent position.
Human rights are human rights everywhere, for everyone.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
The General Assembly founded this Council to promote universal respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction, in a fair and equal manner.
The Assembly charged you, the members of this Council, with upholding the highest standards of human rights.
Now you must act in a fair and equal manner, and uphold the highest human right standards, in your own countries and around the world.