The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, has given an impassioned speech, voicing his support for LGBT rights, and condemning governments around the world which refuse to tackle discrimination against LGBT people.
In the video, posted by the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, who recently attended the International Conference on Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Oslo, encourages all to be more vocal about tackling violence, and discrimination based on sexuality or gender identity.
Acknowledging possible opposition to LGBT rights, he goes on to say that culture, tradition and religion can “never justify the denial of basic rights.” He ends by pledging his continued support, and addressing the LGBT community, he says: “I’m with you.”
He says: “I am pleased to greet the participants in this important conference. We should all be outraged when people suffer discrimination, assault, and even murder, simply because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
“We should all speak out when someone is arrested and imprisoned because of who they love, or how they look. This is one of the great, neglected human rights challenges of our time.
“We must right these wrongs. Governments have a legal duty to protect everyone, but far too many still refuse to acknowledge the injustice of homophobic violence and discrimination.”
He goes on to urge different countries to pool their efforts in terms of tackling such discrimination, and suggests that the key to stamping it out may be through education.
“We need to document this problem and share information with the states on a regular basis for discussion and action. We must institutionalise our efforts to address discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. We need public education to change popular attitudes.
“Some will oppose change. They may invoke culture, tradition or religion to defend the status quo. Such arguments have been used to justify slavery, child marriage, rape in marriage and female genital mutilation. I respect culture, tradition and religion, but they can never justify the denial of basic rights.
“My promise to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members of the human family is this; I’m with you. I promise that, as the Secretary General of the United Nations, I will denounce attacks against you, and I will keep pressing leaders for progress.
He concludes: “I am committed to leading a global campaign in partnership with the United Nations Human Rights Office. I count on others to join us. Together we can make the world safer, freer, and more equal for everyone.”
Last month, Ban Ki-moon, a long-time outspoken supporter of LGBT rights, gave an opening speech with similar sentiments as LGBT activists from across Asia gathered to plan a strategy ahead of this summer’s United Nations Human Rights Council meeting.