Secretary-General's video message to the Oslo Conference on Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
Oslo, Norway, 15 April 2013
Your Excellency, Espen Barth Eide, Foreign Minister of Norway, Your Excellency, Minister for Women’s Rights of the French Republic, [Najat] Vallaud-Belkacem,
Excellencies, Distinguished friends,
I am pleased to greet the participants in this important conference.
We should all be outraged when people suffer discrimination, assault and even murder – simply because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
We should all speak out when someone is arrested and imprisoned because of who they love or how they look. This is one of the great, neglected human rights challenges of our time. We must right these wrongs.
Governments have a legal duty to protect everyone. But far too many still refuse to acknowledge the injustice of homophobic violence and discrimination.
We need to document this problem and share information with States on a regular basis for discussion and action.
We must institutionalize our efforts to address discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. We need public education to change popular attitudes.
Some will oppose change. They may invoke culture, tradition or religion to defend the status quo.
Such arguments have been used to try to justify slavery, child marriage, rape in marriage and female genital mutilation.
I respect culture, tradition and religion – but they can never justify the denial of basic rights.
My promise to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members of the human family is this: I am with you. I promise that as Secretary-General of the United Nations, I will denounce attacks against you …. and I will keep pressing leaders for progress.
I am committed to leading a global campaign in partnership with the United Nations human rights office. I count on others to join us.
Together, we can make the world safer, freer and more equal for everyone.
Statements on 15 April 2013
- New York, 15 April 2013 - Secretary-General's remarks at the ceremony to commemorate the 19th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda
- New York, 15 April 2013 - Secretary-General's remarks at ceremony for handover of paintings by Chinese Artist Wang Linxu
- New York, 15 April 2013 - Statement Attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on the resignation of Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad
- New York, 15 April 2013 - Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on attacks in Mogadishu, Somalia
- New York, 15 April 2013 - Secretary-General's remarks to the Security Council on prevention of conflicts in Africa: Addressing the Root Causes
- Gaborone, Botswana, 15 April 2013 - Secretary-General's message to workshop on the Ratification and Implementation of the Kampala Amendments to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court [delivered by Mr. Muburi-Muita, Head of the United Nations Office to the African Union]
- Nairobi, Kenya, 15 April 2013 - Secretary-General's message to UN-Habitat Governing Council [delivered by Mrs Sahle-Work Zewde, Director General, United Nations Office in Nairobi]
- Johannesburg, South Africa, 15 April 2013 - Secretary-General's message to the Global Newborn Health Conference [delivered by Dr. Agostinho Zacarias, Resident Coordinator in South Africa]
- Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 15 April 2013 - Secretary-General's message to Dubai Global Energy Forum