Statement by UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner for the 2024 International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT), 17 May 2024

May 16, 2024
Credit: Anete Lusina/Pexels

Under international human rights law, all countries are obligated to promote and protect the human rights of all persons without discrimination. Despite this, in 2024, many millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+) people continue to suffer discrimination, marginalization, poverty, violence, imprisonment, and even loss of life solely because of who they are. That includes punitive laws, policies, and practices. In 62 countries, consensual same-sex sexual relations between adults in private are criminalized, with 12 of these countries even imposing the death penalty for such relations. There has also been a recent global pushback on the freedoms of LGBTIQ+ people including new legislation that expands the criminalization of LGBTIQ+ people, including for human rights advocacy in this sphere. 

Fortunately, across the world, there are courageous and visionary advocates for equality who are driving positive change, often at great risk to themselves. Over the past year, we have seen many important steps forward. Several countries have decriminalized consensual same-sex relations while others have approved gay marriage. To recognize and celebrate this continued progress, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA World) have announced the launch of nominations for our first-ever International Pride Awards. The awards seek to shine a light on the work of LGBTIQ+ equality heroes around the world, allowing them to tell their unique stories and inspiring more people to take action for equality. 

Ensuring that no one is left behind is central to  UNDP’s Strategic Plan and to all 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The UNDP family is also committed to ensuring an inclusive environment for all of its LGBTIQ+ personnel. Yet along with other members of the United Nations family and our partners, UNDP is cognizant of the fact that we can do more -- and we will not stop until LGBTIQ+ people everywhere can enjoy equality, freedom and justice. Changing attitudes and challenging deeply ingrained social norms is pivotal. All of us must play a part in speaking out against the hate, discrimination, and violence that many LGBTIQ+ people face routinely. That is especially true when it comes to their participation in political and electoral processes at a time when some 3.7 billion people -- or some half the planet -- will head to the polls in 2024. This is vital to ensure that like all human beings that are born free and equal in dignity and human rights -- they must be able to have their say in their futures

Achim Steiner, Administrator, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)                                                                 

The theme of this year’s International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) on 17 May 2024 is: “No one left behind: equality, freedom and justice for all.”