Posts Tagged 'UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon'

Watch Ban Ki-moon tell leaders at the AU that they must respect gay rights

Ban Ki-Moon: Africa Leaders Should Respect Gay Rights

Ban Ki-Moon: Africa Leaders Should Respect Gay RightsRepost from Huffington Post

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says African nations should stop treating gays as “second-class citizens, or even criminals”.

Ban told African leaders that gathered in Ethiopia’s capital on Sunday for an African Union summit that discrimination based on sexual orientation “had been ignored or even sanctioned by many states for far too long”.

Ban said it would be challenging for Africa to “confront this discrimination”. There was no immediate response from African heads of states to Ban’s speech. Many African countries outlaw homosexuality and many African churches preach against it.

UN Releases Video and Pamphlet to Mark the International Day Against Homophobia

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the highest human rights official in the UN system, released a video and a pamphlet last week decrying violence and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals.  The video and pamphlet were released for use at events worldwide on May 17, the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO).  IDAHO marks the date in 1990 when the World Health Organization (WHO) removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders.  See a list of IDAHO events and campaigns here.

The UN video highlights LGBT hate crimes in the United States, Brazil, Honduras and South Africa, stressing that such incidents are not isolated but part of a global pattern of targeted violence. “Ultimately, homophobia and transphobia are no different to sexism, misogyny, racism or xenophobia”, the High Commissioner notes, “but whereas these last forms of prejudice are universally condemned by Governments, homophobia and transphobia are too often overlooked.”

The UN pamphlet is titled The United Nations Speaks Out: Tackling Discrimination on Grounds of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and can be used as a public information resource.  It clarifies that LGBT rights are not special rights but are part and parcel of the fundamental human rights we all enjoy.  As UN Secretary General Ban-Ki-moon stated in January, “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. I understand that sexual orientation and gender identity raise sensitive cultural issues.  But cultural practice cannot justify any violation of human rights. When our fellow humans are persecuted because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, we must speak out. Human rights are human rights everywhere, for everyone.”

To download the pamphlet:

The pamphlet is available as a pdf file from the OHCHR website (go to http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Discrimination/Pages/LGBT.aspx and look for the link “brochure” in the right-hand column).

To view or download the High Commissioner’s video:

The video is in English, with French and Spanish sub-titled versions.  The video and scripts are available to view or download from the following platforms:

  • Facebook: “United Nations Human Rights”

Ban Ki-moon statement calling for an end to human rights violations

Ban Kai-moon, United NationsDuring 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.

Thank you.”

U.S. will press for a major UN vote to restore language in a resolution on extrajudicial killings

UN, New York, Dec. 10—In a speech at a UN event to mark International Human Rights Day, U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice today announced that the U.S. will press for a major UN vote to restore language in a human rights resolution on extrajudicial killings to emphasize that LGBT people are often the targets of such murders.

The high-level panel marking human rights day focused exclusively on violence, discrimination and related abuse against LGBT communities worldwide.  UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opened the event by noting that “these are not merely assaults on individuals.  They are attacks on all of us.”  He declared that “we have a collective responsibility to stand against discrimination, to defend our fellow human beings and our fundamental principles,” emphasizing that “from my first days in office as Secretary-General, I have spoken out against stigma and discrimination.”  He noted that he has called for decriminalization of homosexuality in all countries, and that he is proud of his individual interventions in support of LGBT rights, including his efforts last May to secure the release of a young transgender couple imprisoned in Malawi on criminal charges for homosexuality.  (See his full statement here.)

Ambassador Rice spoke of the progress the United States has achieved in support of equality, but noted that in the United States, “we have got a great deal more work to do.”  She expressed extreme disappointment at the vote in the U.S. Senate yesterday to block debate of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” noting that it “erodes our security, as well as our principles.”  She vowed to fight on in the United States and at the United Nations.  In particular, Rice noted that she was “incensed by the recent vote in the General Assembly’s Third Committee, which eliminated any mention of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals from a resolution condemning extrajudicial killing of vulnerable people around the world.”  She vowed to fight that decision on the floor of the UN General Assembly before an upcoming vote on December 20.  (See her full remarks here.)

The upcoming fight on LGBT language in the resolution condemning extrajudicial killings could be a very big—and very important—fight in the United Nations later this month.  It is the only UN human rights resolution that includes sexual orientation language, and the battle lines that were drawn last month during the committee vote that stripped the language were particularly sharp.  The campaign for LGBT-recognition in the General Assembly will be difficult, and victory is not certain, but it does embody the principled commitment of the U.S. government.

After the high-level discussion, which also included remarks by the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights and other senior UN officials, three human rights defenders provided their own testimony of their real-life struggles and the violence they experience within their LGBT communities in Turkey, the Caribbean and southern Africa.

watch the full event here


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