UN today issues Unprecedented Joint Statement on the Rights of Intersex and LGBT people

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Following on the historic meeting between intersex advocates and others at the UN in Geneva recently, the UN has now issued a joint statement by 12 UN agencies, condemning the continued abuse of intersex and LGBT people.

Charles Radcliffe, the UN Human Rights Office’s Chief of Global Issues, said:-

“This is the first time that so many members of the UN family have joined forces in defence of the basic rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people.

The statement highlights the links between human rights abuses against LGBTI people,  ill health, family break-up, social and economic exclusion and lost opportunities for development and economic growth.   It also sets out specific steps that Governments, in particular, need to take to curb violence and protect individuals from discrimination.  This includes measures to improve the investigation and reporting of hate crimes, torture and ill-treatment, prohibit discrimination, and review and repeal all laws used to arrest, punish or discriminate against people on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

Charles Radcliffe went on to say

“Violence and discrimination against people based on sexual orientation, gender identity and biological sex characteristics violate their human rights and impoverish whole communities. That is why United Nations agencies working across such a wide range of areas: from human rights to health, education, employment, development, children’s rights, gender equality, food security and refugees – have come together to push for change,”

The introduction to the joint statement reads

All people have an equal right to live free from violence, persecution, discrimination and stigma. International human rights law establishes legal obligations on States to ensure that every person, without distinction, can enjoy these rights. While welcoming increasing efforts in many countries to protect the rights of LGBTI people, we remain seriously concerned that around the world, millions of LGBTI individuals, those perceived as LGBTI and their families face widespread human rights violations.
OII-UK warmly welcomes this unprecedented statement of support for intersex and LGBT people throughout the world.
Human rights are indivisible, they are not an optional extra to be gifted to some, and withheld from others.  Intersex rights are human rights. That has now been powerfully acknowledged by these 12 UN agencies, including Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Fund for Children (UNICEF), and the World Health Organization (WHO).
 OII-UK urges the UK government and other agencies to follow this statement, and  ensure that intersex rights of personal autonomy and bodily integrity are upheld in all decisions made in future discussions surrounding anti-discrimination, and human rights legislation.
The full statement is published in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.