The United Nations Human Rights Council is set to vote on an historic resolution tackling violence and discrimination against sexual minorities.
The HRLC's Directory of Advocacy, Anna Brown, is present in Geneva and delivered a statement to the Council calling on the international community to support a resolution condemning violence and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.
"People across the world experience murder, abuse, rape and other forms of violence, simply because of who they love or who they are, and it's time for the international community to come together and respond to this global challenge," said Ms Brown.
Three years ago South Africa and Brazil co-sponsored a historic resolution encouraging the UN to discuss discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI). Now, years later, the need to act is greater than ever before. Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Uruguay have presented a second resolution to the Human Rights Council, the UN's highest human rights body, and its 47 member states will vote on the resolution later this week.
The resolution condemns violence and discrimination suffered by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and calls for reporting and dialogue on human rights violations. In her statement, Ms Brown said that continued dialogue and information was critical in order to respond to this global problem and brought recent positive developments in Australia to the attention of the council to demonstrate the value of increased information sharing between states.
"Last week we saw the introduction of legislation in two state parliaments to erase criminal convictions for consensual homosexual sex from the records of older gay men. These laws mirror reforms in the UK and draw on the precedent of South Africa removing criminal convictions for sex between people of different races, demonstrating that we advance rights globally by learning from others," said Ms Brown.
Ms Brown urged the Council to support the resolution and help LGBTI people everywhere across the globe, including Australia.
"In Australia, sexual minorities experience significantly poorer mental health outcomes and face high levels of discrimination, harassment, abuse and hate crime. The time has come for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people to be afforded the dignity and rights that we are entitled to as human beings," said Ms Brown.
Ms Brown welcomed the constructive role that Australia was playing in relation to the resolution.
“We’re pleased to see Australia co-sponsoring this resolution and taking an active role to assist its passage through the council. We strongly encourage the Government to continue its promotion of LGBTI rights internationally,” said Ms Brown.
For a copy of the statement please click here.
For further comment or queries, including updates on the progress of the resolution, please contact:
Anna Brown, Director of Advocacy & Strategic Litigation - +61(0)422 235 522 or Anna.Brown@hrlc.org.au (in Geneva)