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World must unite to end LGBT discrimination, says UN expert Vitit

Dec 02. 2016
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By The Nation

The United Nation’s newly appointed LGBT expert Vitit Muntarbhorn yesterday urged for a global partnership to end violence and discrimination against the group at an international conference in Bangkok.

In his keynote speech at the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), the UN’s first independent expert on Protection against Violence and Discrimination based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) discussed five key steps deemed pivotal in ending the discrimination and violence faced by the LGBT community. 

These are decriminalisation, depathologisation, recognition of gender identity, cultural inclusion and emphathisation.

Eradicating all criminal laws affecting LGBT people is essential for the community to no longer be seen as suffering from a disorder, Vitit said. 

Providing the right for all people to have their gender identity recognised in official documents is a milestone much needed to improve the global situation, he added.

Vitit said ensuring the children grow up with the ability to empathise with people of varying sexual identities could be accomplished by working with different cultures and religions through inclusive practices. 

Human rights advocates associated with LGBT issues have also come under attack, he said. 

Vitit assessed that “resolute action is required to stop the violence and discrimination affecting not only LGBT communities but also the human rights defenders working with them”.

He said “this goes hand in hand with the broader aspirations of human rights, freedoms, democracy, and peaceful and inclusive societies”. 

He called the mandate a ‘‘quantum leap” for the world community, which would accelerate the UN’s 2030 global development agenda and its commitment to “leave no one behind”. 

“The new mandate gives voice to our global message: Treat people decently, respectfully, kindly, humanely whatever their origins, our origins,” he told the conference. 

The principle of non-discrimination is a cornerstone of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The principle was developed by international human rights law and practice, and progress has been made through UN resolutions, studies and procedures.

However, Vitit stressed that more work was needed to end violence and discrimination to accomplish the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

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