Ministerial Meeting in Support of LGBT Rights at UN GA 69

On Thursday, September 25, Ministers and other High-Level Representatives of UN Member States from around the world attended a high-level meeting to discuss the importance of combating violence and discrimination against LGBT people. The meeting was organized by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the United Nations LGBT Core Group, IGLHRC and HRW at the UN Headquarters, during the Opening Week of the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly.

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon delivered remarks by video message, emphasizing his belief in protecting LGBT people from violence and discrimination: "I say to all people: raise your voices. Ending homophobia and transphobia is a great human rights cause."

US Secretary of State, John Kerry also addressed the ministers in attendance, saying: "We have a moral obligation to speak up against marginalization and persecution of LGBT persons. We have a moral obligation to promote societies that are more just and more fair, more tolerant."

Argentine Minister of Foreign Affairs Héctor Timerman delivered closing remarks to the event. Chancellor Timerman highlighted that in Argentina “during the military dictatorship the LGBT community was one of the most persecuted groups.” He also stated that, beginning in 2010 and 2012, in Argentina, “the rights of these people are now recognized with equal marriage and gender identity laws. The fight against violence toward the LGBT community in our country is being fought with the tools of the Human Rights system: education and anti-violence. At the UN people speak often of terror and arms, but Argentina, along with other countries in the region, learned—through their history—you do not combat hate with violence because that generates more hate.”

Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights also attended the meeting, and posed for a photo with other ministers in attendance.

Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (centre) at the 69th UN General Assembly Ministerial Event "Free & Equal: LGBT Rights are Human Rights" together with (from left to right) Patti Londoño, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Colombia, Igor Luksic, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Montenegro, Luiz Alberto Figueiredo, Minister of External Relations of Brazil, John Kerry, Secretary of State of the United States, Amanda Ellis, Special Envoy to the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Héctor Marcos Timerman, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Argentina, Frans Timmermans, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, Stavros Lambrinidis, Special Representative for Human Rights of the European Union, Børge Brende, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway, Annick Girardin, Minister of Development of France, Akira Kono, Ambassador of UN Affairs of Japan, Mark Lyall Grant, Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the UN, Vesna Pusić, Minister of Foreign of Croatia, Rubén Zamora, Permanent Representative of El Salvador to the UN, and Luis Almagro, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uruguay.

A collection of photos and tweets from the event, as well as a selection of photos from the Free And Equal photo booth that has been stationed in the UN Headquarters this week, allowing attendees of the General Assembly to show their support for LGBT rights.