Secretary-General candidate responses to question 2

Arcos Iris de Sordos

Colombia – Deaf Rainbow Group

Let me introduce myself, I’m Johan, This is my sign. Welcome. We are the Bogota Deaf Rainbow Group. What will the United Nations do to guarantee the rights of LGBTI people around the world?


Ms. Helen Clark’s answer

The UN has from its establishment encouraged respect for individual human freedoms and human rights.  But while the UN can set goals and standards only its member states can put these into practice, at the speed that their societies and cultures will allow.  There is a lively dialogue underway on LGBTI and for the past two years the United Nations UN Free & Equal campaign has been raising awareness of homophobic and transphobic violence and discrimination as well as  promoting greater respect for the rights of LGBTI people.  The creation of a new Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity by the Human Rights Council in June will also contribute to progress on better protecting of the rights of LGBTI people.

While I was Prime Minister, New Zealand made significant progress towards recognising the rights of LGBTI persons, including by legalising civil unions for same-sex couples.


Mr. Miroslav Lajčák’s answer

UN must be at the frontlines when it comes to protection of the human rights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”. I am strongly against all violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The UN should continue to help address the challenges the LGBTI community faces around the world and build greater understanding of issues facing the LGBTI people.


Dr. Igor Lukšić’s answer

Many people in all regions remain discriminated on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. Due to their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity, individuals are exposed to various forms of exclusion, violence and discrimination, both within their families and in the society at large. In many parts of the world, the struggle for equal rights of LGBTI people is still a ”new frontier”. There has been a significant advance in the recognition of human rights of LGBTI people within the international and regional human rights mechanism. However, important gaps remain in legal protection at country level. In addition there is no reporting mechanisms and systematic attention to human rights violations against LGBTI persons. UN must continue to strongly advocate for elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation or gender identity, as well as to mobilize all actors and conduct active policy in the international scene in order to improve the status and safety of LGBTI persons, promoting their rights and greater visibility.

The newly adopted 2030 Agenda does not explicitly include LGBTI people. Therefore, one of the challenges in the implementation will be to ensure that development is inclusive of LGBTI persons, as well. This is particularly important in the field of health and health protection. I welcome the recently adopted HRC resolution on the issue of sexual orientation and gender identity, introducing for the first time in the UN a position of the independent expert on the issue of violence based on different sexual orientation and gender identity.


Dr. Danilo Türk’s answer

The United Nations must insist on the principle of non-discrimination and equality before the law for all. Moreover, everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. The entire UN system for protection of human rights has to work to implement these universal requirements. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights will be in the forefront and ensure coherence of the UN action. The Secretary – General must fully support these activities. Some among the priorities are urgent, in particular prevention of killings or harming of people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.