Secretary-General Urges States to Ensure Safety, Equality for LGBT Community, Calling Prejudice ‘All Too Prevalent’

SG/SM/17955-HR/5325
3 August 2016

Secretary-General Urges States to Ensure Safety, Equality for LGBT Community, Calling Prejudice ‘All Too Prevalent’

Following is the text of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s video message to the World LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] Conference for Criminal Justice Professionals, held in Amsterdam from 3 to 5 August:

Congratulations to the organizers of this ground-breaking conference.

The United Nations shares your commitment to protect lesbian, gay, bi, trans and intersex people from violence and discrimination.

UN Member States are legally bound by the treaties they have ratified to promote, protect and fulfil the human rights of all their people — regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Wherever I go, I denounce human rights abuses against LGBT people.  I urge countries to ensure their safety and equality in the face of all-too-prevalent stigma and prejudice.

Hundreds are killed.  Thousands are badly injured in homophobic and transphobic hate crimes every year.  Harassment and discrimination against members of the LGBT community remains wide-spread.

Many victims are reluctant to come forward.  They fear mistreatment by law enforcement officials.  In too many cases, the LGBT community rightly lacks trust in the police.

We regularly receive reports of LGBT people being assaulted, blackmailed and even tortured by police officers and prison guards.

These violations must be stopped.  The criminal justice system should be a first line of defence for the LGBT community — not a terrifying source of abuse.

I applaud your work to sensitize police officers, prosecutors and other criminal justice officials — and rebuild trust with LGBT communities.

I salute your courage in facing down discriminatory attitudes.  I stand with you.

Let us continue advancing towards a world where criminal justice institutions keep LGBT and intersex people safe and protect them from discrimination.

For information media. Not an official record.