Joint Statement on Ending Violence and Discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex People
All people have an equal right to live free from violence, persecution, discrimination and stigma. International human rights law establishes legal obligations on States to ensure that every person, without distinction, can enjoy these rights. While welcoming increasing efforts in many countries to protect the rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) people, we remain seriously concerned that around the world, millions of LGBTI individuals, those perceived as LGBTI, and their families face widespread human rights violations. This is cause for alarm – and action.
Failure to uphold the human rights of LGBTI people and protect them against abuses such as violence and discriminatory laws and practices, constitute serious violations of international human rights law and have a far-reaching impact on society – contributing to increased vulnerability to ill health including HIV infection, social and economic exclusion, putting strain on families and communities, and impacting negatively on economic growth, decent work and progress towards achievement of the future Sustainable Development Goals. States bear the primary duty under international law to protect everyone from discrimination and violence. These violations therefore require an urgent response by governments, parliaments, judiciaries and national human rights institutions. Community, religious and political leaders, workers’ organizations, the private sector, health providers, civil society organizations and the media also have important roles to play. Human rights are universal – cultural, religious and moral practices and beliefs and social attitudes cannot be invoked to justify human rights violations against any group, including LGBTI persons.