Sep 152012

“The case for extending the same rights to LGBT persons as those enjoyed by everyone else is neither radical nor complicated. It rests on two fundamental principles that underpin international human rights law: equality and non-discrimination. The opening words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are unequivocal: ‘All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights’.”

This quote from UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay is in the forward of a new publication, Born Free and Equal, from the UN Human Rights Office. This publication on sexual orientation and gender identity in international human rights law identifies the source and scope of the core legal obligations that countries have to protect the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.  The booklet focuses on the obligations nation’s have to protecting people from homophobic violence,  preventing torture, decriminalizing homosexuality, prohibiting discrimination,  safeguarding freedom of expression, and allowing the association and peaceful assembly for all LGBT people, the UN’s announcement said. The booklet is available as a pdf.

Addressing the Human Rights Council in March 2012, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, “Some say that sexual orientation and gender identity are sensitive issues. I understand. Like many of my generation, I did not grow up talking about these issues. But I learned to speak out because lives are at stake, and because it is our duty under the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to protect the rights of everyone, everywhere.”

Source: UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights


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