A group of 11 countries have called on UN member states to repeal laws that discriminate against LGBT people, in the organisation’s highest-level meeting on the issue.

“Those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender must enjoy the same human rights as everyone else,” said the declaration of the LGBT Core Group, which includes the United States, Japan, Israel and eight European and Latin American nations.

“Advancing equality for LGBT persons isn’t just the right thing to do,” US Secretary of State John Kerry said in his statement at the meeting. “It’s also fundamental to advancing democracy and human rights.”

“Today’s meeting of ministers from around the globe shows a landmark commitment to end persecution based on sexual orientation and gender identity,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “The challenge now for both the United Nations and the individual countries will be to turn that commitment into action.”

The ministers endorsed a declaration committing their governments to work together and with others to combat what UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called “one of the great, neglected human rights challenges of our time.”

The meeting included foreign ministers from Argentina, the Netherlands and Norway, the United States, the Minister of Development Cooperation of France, high-level representatives from Brazil, Croatia, the European Union, Japan, and New Zealand, and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay.