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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 16, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 50
AllOut.Org Applauds OHCHR and South African Government for Leadership on Historic UN Report Documenting LGBT Human Rights Violations Worldwide
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AllOut.Org Applauds OHCHR and South African Government for Leadership on Historic UN Report Documenting LGBT Human Rights Violations Worldwide

AllOut.org and African Human Rights Activists Declare: 'Equality Under the Law is a Universal Human Right'

New York, NY -- The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) today released the first-ever U.N. report documenting discriminatory laws, practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. The report gives a sweeping panorama of the status of LGBT rights around the world, and includes an ambitious set of recommendations for U.N. member states to implement.

Download the full report

http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/19session/A.HRC.19.41_English.pdf

UNHRC Contact: Charles Radcliffe, Chief, Global Issues Section Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) radcliffe@un.org Tel: +1 212 963 4953

"Today the United Nations has sent a powerful message to member states around the world, echoing what Hillary Clinton said last week: Gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights," said AllOut.org co-founder Andre Banks. "This groundbreaking report adds major momentum to the work that LGBT equality advocates are doing worldwide. We applaud the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the South African government in particular, for their courage and commitment to this historic civil and human rights struggle."

African human rights and LGBT rights advocates who work closely with AllOut.org responded to the historic report:

Alice N'Kom, Attorney and founder of the Association for the Defense of LGBT Rights in Cameroon (ADEFHO), said: "I am so proud that this breakthrough was initiated by an African country, and that South Africa is standing up for human rights. Not only were they leaders at the United Nations in pushing for the passage of this historic resolution on LGBT rights, they are also setting an example for all African countries and sending a simple message : homophobia is not an African value."

Ifeanyi Orazulike, public health advocate and director of the International Center for Advocacy on Right to Health (ICARH) in Abuja, Nigeria, said: "This report highlights how the majority of our countries still cling to penal codes written under colonial rule - laws that make the lives and loving relationship of LGBT people illegal. And these laws and the prejudicial attitudes that keep them in place don't just punish LGBT Africans - they make our societies sicker - by undercutting our urgent work to battle the HIV / AIDS pandemic on the continent."

The report, titled Discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity, affirms in unambiguous language that across the world:

"People experience violence and discrimination because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. In many cases, even the perception of homosexuality or transgender identity puts people at risk. Violations include - but are not limited to - killings, rape and physical attacks, torture, arbitrary detention, the denial of rights to assembly, expression and information, and discrimination in employment, health and education. United Nations mechanisms, including human rights treaty bodies and the special procedures of the Human Rights Council, have documented such violations for close to two decades."

The report makes a number of recommendations, among them that UN member States:

- Investigate promptly all reported killings and other serious incidents of violence perpetrated against individuals because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

- Ensure that no one fleeing persecution on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity is returned to a territory where his or her life or freedom would be threatened

- Repeal laws used to criminalize individuals on grounds of homosexuality for engaging in consensual same-sex sexual conduct, and harmonize the age of consent for heterosexual and homosexual conduct

The United Nations commitment to spurring a robust global dialogue on this critical issue is yet one more sign that the movement for LGBT equality is global, and that it's time has come.

AllOut.org is a global campaign organization of over 800,000 people from 190 countries around the world dedicated to LGBT equality. A movement working online and on the ground to build a world in which everyone can live freely and be embraced for who they are, All Out is adding global people power to the historic fight for LGBT equality. Find out more at: www.allout.org/about

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