Stockholm, 14 December 2012
Ban Ki-moon to the ILGA Conference:
“The United Nations stands with you”
“LGBTI people are born free and equal and are entitled to the same rights as everyone else”
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon sent a message to the ILGA world conference in Stockholm, where about than 450 delegates of LGBTI organisations of more than 100 countries are meeting from December 12 to 16.
After reminding everyone that the first Article of the Human Rights Declaration states “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” and that indeed all human beings means not some, not most, but all, the UN Secretary General added that “No one gets to decide who is entitled to human rights, and who is not.”.
“I am profoundly concerned about the persistence of homophobia” continued Ban Ki-moon, and by the fact that “Rather than challenging prejudice, too many Governments yield to it”.
“Those who are LGBT and intersex are entitled to the same rights as everyone else. They too were born free and equal,” who then added, however, that “despite serious problems, there are grounds for hope” referring to “measures introduced by many governments to tackle hate crime, sensitize State officials and provide legal recourse to victims,” and to the “shifts in social attitudes in many parts of the world.”
“Your role as human rights defenders is more important than ever – wrote Ban Ki-moon to the delegates of the ILGA conference – the United Nations stands with you as you highlight ongoing abuses, dispel prejudice and insist on nothing short of freedom and equality for all.”
The message was read to the conference by Charles Radcliffe, Chief of Global Issues at the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights, at the opening of a panel on developments at the United Nations on LGBTI issues, where Mr Radcliffe featured along Tamara Adrian, trans activist in Venezuela, Beto de Jesus, gay activist in Brazil, Yuli Rustinawati an activist from Indonesia, moderated by professor Robert Wintemute of King’s College, London.
Gloria Careaga and Renato Sabbadini, ILGA’s co-Secretaries General said: “The message by His Excellency Ban Ki-moon fills us both with pride and gratitude – it is indeed a sign that times are changing and that the efforts and sacrifices of thousands of LGBTI activists around the world in the last three decades have managed to change the way in which the UN deals with LGBTI issues, but it is also a testament of the courage and personal engagement of the first UN Secretary General ever to tackle LGBTI issues so firmly and so openly: indeed Ban Ki-moon is fully aware that equality is true equality only if it applies to all and that no exemption to this principle can be defended in any credible manner.”
Read here the whole message from United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, delivered at ILGA XXVI World Conference by Mr. Charles Radcliffe, Chief of Global Issues, Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights.