UN chief insists he is still committed to LGBT rights
United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon has insisted the UN is still committed to equality despite stripping LGBT rights out of its global goals.
The UN recently launched its global goals as a series of ‘ambitious targets’ for its 193 member states related to poverty, equality and ending climate change – but overt references to LGBT equality were stripped out of the final agreement.
The body also sparked fury by appointing Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s most repressive and homophobic countries, the chair a UN panel on human rights.
At a UN event on LGBT rights, held in New York, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon gave a defiant speech about the importance of including LGBT people in the UN’s commitment to human rights, despite opposition.
He said: “When the human rights of LGBT people are abused, all of us are diminished. Every human life is precious – none is worth more than another.”
“This United Nations I lead will never shirk in the fight against discrimination. We will never shy away from protecting the most marginalised and vulnerable people. This is not just a personal commitment – it is an institutional one.”
Speaking of the UN’s commitment to leaving no one behind when it comes to human rights he continued: “We will only realise this vision if we reach all people regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
He ended with a commitment to end the exclusion and discrimination of LGBT people around the globe: “We can show future generations that the best way to advance our shared goals is to embrace all members of our human family – regardless of who they are or whom they love.”
His speech was given on the same day that twelve UN agencies called for an end to violence and discrimination against LGBTI adults, adolescents and children, and laid out specific steps to protect these individuals.
An official from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights commented: “[This is] both an expression of commitment on the part of UN agencies, and a powerful call to action for Governments around the world to do more to tackle homophobic and transphobic violence and discrimination and abuses against intersex people”
This action comes after a week in which Saudi Arabia protested any inclusion of gay rights in the UN’s global goals, and Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe ranted against “new rights” for gay people in a UN speech.