LGBT campaigners around the world are marking Human Rights Day with calls to end the criminalisation of same-sex sexual relationships.
The UN General Assembly proclaimed 10 December as Human Rights Day in 1950, to bring to the attention “of the peoples of the world” the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations.
Tuesday also marks the 20th anniversary of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action.
Adopted by the World Conference in 1993, the declaration marked the beginning of a renewed effort in the protection and promotion of human rights and is regarded as one of the most significant human rights documents in recent times.
The Metro Centre, a south-east London based LGBT charity, has called on the world to protect LGBT rights as part of Human Rights Day.
Acting Chief Executive Dr Greg Ussher said: “Today on Human Rights Day we celebrate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and consider how far we have come to realise its promise of recognising and honouring the human rights of every member of our global community.
“It is clear that there is still a long road to travel to full respect for the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. It is only as recently as 2008 that any resolution supporting LGBT rights was discussed at the UN – that resolution remains open and is unsupported by 46 countries and opposed by 54.
“We have to recognise that progress has been made but all too slowly in many countries, not at all in others and as recent developments in Russia demonstrate, the tide of human rights progress can turn back all too quickly. In the UK progress has been relatively fast, particularly in recent years and we are thankful for it.”
Meanwhile, gay rights charity Stonewall has launched a new guide for equality activists worldwide as part of Human Rights Day.
Stonewall’s Senior International Officer Jasmine O’Connor said: “We know from our work with dozens of LGB & T organisations globally that they look to the UK as a beacon of gay equality and therefore a key ally in their own campaigns for fundamental rights. The UK Government has said it wants to work with activists in their own countries and we hope that this guide will help bring activists and the UK Government together on the ground.”
It will take place this evening in central London.