Oral Statement delivered by Dandang Zhang, 24 September 2013
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Thank you Mr President
This statement is made by the International Lesbian and Gay Association – the world federation of human rights-based LGBTI organizations, with over 1000 member organizations from 120 countries and all regions of the world.
This council has heard many times of the human rights violations faced by LGBTI people. These human rights violations continue unabated while this council deliberates.
In spite of this, in many places positive change is taking place. People of various religions, creeds, cultures, values, and politics are realizing that it is all people that have human rights, even those who might seem different.
This is happening partly because LGBTI people all over the world are “coming-out” and being open with parents, relatives, friends and communities about their sexual orientations, their gender identities and expressions, and their sex, with particular reference to intersex people. We pay tribute to those who are Intersex, Trans, Bisexual, Lesbian and Gay, and come out, often in the face of hardship and sometimes danger. Fear and hate can be driven out by understanding and acceptance.
While such incremental change happens at a local level, similar change should be fostered here in the international arena. In occasion of the Viena+20 review, we recognize the need for continued, open, inclusive and constructive dialogue between governments on this urgent issue.
This Council voted two years ago to “remain seized of the priority issue” of human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity. We thank South Africa for its commitment then in bringing that resolution. Many other States are supporting that process: having worked with South Africa in many different ways. In that light, we wish to thank Argentina, Brazil, France, Nepal, Norway and Poland, though there are many others. We are thankful for South Africa’s continuing commitment and are looking forward to it convening the African Regional Workshop, the High-Level Seminar in Geneva, and then bringing this matter back to the Council in a timely manner.
We, and other civil society organizations, are ready to engage with you and others as you do so, to ensure that the dialogue includes the voices of those most-affected.
Thank you, Mr President
Read also ILGA’s Oral Statement at the 24th session of the Human Rights Council on Item 4, Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention.