This year, on 11th December, the Human Rights Day, the U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon spoke out for the LGBT community and against homophobia. Speaking at a special event on Leadership in the Fight against Homophobia, Ban Ki-moon called for an end to violence and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
Speaking strongly for equality, the U.N. Secretary General said, “Let me say this loud and clear: lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are entitled to the same rights as everyone else. They, too, are born free and equal.”
Recognizing that at least in 76 member states of the U.N. there were laws criminalizing homosexuality, Ban Ki-moon said, “It is an outrage that in our modern world, so many countries continue to criminalize people simply for loving another human being of the same sex. In most cases, these laws are not home-grown. They were inherited from former colonial powers … these laws must go.”
In a gathering attended by the likes of France’s Minister for Women’s Rights, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem; Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, via video-link from South Africa; Blas Radi, Olena Shevchenko and Gift Trapence, LGBT human rights defenders from Argentina, Ukraine and Malawi, respectively; as well as South African musician, singer and campaigner Yvonne Chaka Chaka, and pop singer Ricky Martin, Ban Ki-moon said, “We must all speak out against homophobia, especially those who are considered leaders in society as well as others in the public eye.”
Considering the oft-played card of public resentment at breaking taboos and obsolete mores, the U.N. Secretary General told the leaders of countries, “I understand it can be difficult to stand up to public opinion. But just because a majority might disapprove of certain individuals does not entitle the State to withhold their basic rights … Democracy is more than majority rule. It requires defending vulnerable minorities from hostile majorities. It thrives on diversity. Governments have a duty to fight prejudice, not fuel it.”