Statement Delivered by UN LGBTI Core Group During the Human Rights General Discussion of the 3rd Committee

 

Mr. Chairman,

I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Member States of the LGBTI Core Group.

The LGBTI Core Group is an informal cross regional group established in 2008. The group is co-chaired by Argentina and The Netherlands, and includes Albania, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, El Salvador, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Montenegro, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States of America, Uruguay, the European Union, as well as the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the non-governmental organizations Human Rights Watch and Outright Action International.

Our overarching goal is to work within the United Nations framework on ensuring universal respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all individuals without distinction, including lesbian, gay bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) persons. Our particular focus is on protecting LGBTI persons from violence.

Protecting LGBTI individuals from violence does not require the creation of new or special rights. The human rights of all individuals, including LGBTI persons, without distinction of any kind are set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in subsequently agreed international human rights treaties. On the occasion of the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we reaffirm its important value as the first universal international instrument to state “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”.

We would like to thank the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights for its continued support to this universal cause. In a recent event organized by the LGBTI Core Group during the General Assembly High Level Week, High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet stressed the importance of combating impunity as a major step to stop violence. The perception that abuses against a certain class of individuals can go unpunished is one that we must strive to eradicate. We thank Madame Bachelet for her powerful words and her important work towards a more equal world.

In the same line, in a special recorded statement at that event, Secretary-General António Guterres also reaffirmed the United Nations commitment to stopping human rights violations against LGBTI persons. We consider that his reflections on this topic send a strong message from the leadership of the United Nations to the international community on the importance of ending violence and discrimination against LGBTI persons.

The establishment of the mandate of the Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 32/2, has been a key achievement in this regard. We express our support for the mandate of the Independent Expert and congratulate him on the presentation of his second report to this Committee recently, in which he examines the process of abandoning the classification of certain forms of gender as a pathology and the respect of gender recognition as a component of identity.

We also want to thank the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions who also delivered her report this session which emphasized the particular threat faced by LGBTI persons. We continue to be concerned with the rates of extrajudicial or any other form of violence perpetrated against individuals based on their real or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics.

Mr. Chairman,

Our countries share the strong and determined commitment to eliminate violence against individuals based on sexual orientation, gender identity or sex characteristics. We are fully committed to tackling violations and abuses – at the domestic, regional and global levels, including through concerted engagement at the United Nations.

Nevertheless, in all parts of the world – including in our own countries – LGBTI people continue to be victims of serious human rights violations and abuses. And as we seek support from all Member States to this cause, we would like to stress that standing against violence is not and should never be a matter of controversy. It is just right and humane.

We take this opportunity to express our support for and pay tribute to LGBTI human rights defenders and others engaged in combating violence on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity or sex characteristics. Their work, often carried out at considerable personal risk, plays a critical role in reporting on human rights violations, providing support to victims, and sensitizing Governments and public opinion. Through their work, LGBTI human rights defenders contribute to States adopting concrete measures to recognize and support their role and ensure their protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Mr. Chairman,

No human being should be subjected to violence and abuse - even to the extent of murder - because of their sexual orientation and gender identity. All are equally deserving of full State protection of all their human rights. As the LGBTI Core Group, we want to create a dialogue environment within the United Nations where policies can be discussed among all Member States and other stakeholders, in an open, respectful and constructive manner, regardless of the region of the world they come from or any different perspective they might have. We are committed to seeking common approaches, bearing in mind that all persons are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to the equal protection of the law, and with the right to live in dignity and freedom.

I thank you.