United Nations LGBT Rights Expert warns of ‘global crisis’ as homophobic crackdowns continue

United Nations LGBT Rights Expert warns of ‘global crisis’ as homophobic crackdowns continue

The UN’s independent LGBT Human Rights Expert has warned of a brewing global crisis amid reports of homophobic purges in several countries.

This year, there have been a number of crackdowns against the gay community in a string of separate countries across the world.

Human rights monitors in Russia have warned about a homophobic purge in the autonomous Chechnya region, with dozens of gay men reportedly killed by authorities and vigilantes while many others were forced to flee.

More recently, authorities in Egypt launched a crackdown on the gay community, sparked by a ‘moral panic’ over the waving of a rainbow flag at a music concert. Since the concert, Egyptian authorities began a ‘purge’ targeted at the country’s gay community, raiding homes and arresting more than 60 people. The state has also banned local media from mentioning the issue and has gone on to propose a bill criminalizing homosexuality in the country.

Tanzania also this month clamped down on the LGBT community, raiding a summit and arresting legal experts who had been discussing a proposed legal challenge to an anti-LGBT government policy. The country has since outlawed the human rights charity behind the summit, accusing it of “promoting homosexuality”.

There has also been a recorded rise in anti-LGBT sentiment in other countries across the world, including Indonesia.

In a landmark address to the United Nations General Assembly in New York, a UN expert on LGBT issues warned about a “crucible” of rights violations. The UN’s first Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, Vitit Muntarbhorn, made the warning.

The Thai Human Rights monitor warned that immediate action is needed to stop a global crisis, as LGBT people around the world suffer horrific violations of their human rights.

Mr. Muntarbhorn said: “It is unconscionable that people with an actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression different from a particular social norm, are targeted for violence and discrimination in many parts of the world.

“LGBT people are suffering a crucible of egregious violations, including killings, rape, mutilation, torture, arbitrary detention, abduction, harassment, physical and mental assaults. They are subjected to lashings and forced surgical interventions, bullying from a young age, incitement to hatred and pressures leading to suicide. More than 70 countries around the world today still criminalize same-sex relations, and in some of them, the death penalty may be applied.

“Even where there is no law criminalizing consensual same-sex relations, laws on public decency, public order and social peace are used in some countries to incriminate people under the umbrella of sexual orientation, gender identity and related gender expression.”

The human rights expert called for all laws criminalizing same-sex relationships to be removed from the statute books, also calling for an end to anti-LGBT ‘gagging’ laws used for the purpose of consolidating power and suppressing dissent.

He also warned that human rights defenders were being increasingly targeted for their work in the field. He said: “Non-governmental organizations, human rights defenders and activists, as well as independent national human rights institutions, play a crucial role in the advancement of an inclusive agenda for all without discrimination and distinction, including through the promotion of understanding of and respect for human rights and gender diversity.

“They are agents of change which can activate significant reform processes.”

Mr. Muntarbhorn was first appointed to the role last year, as the UN’s first ever independent LGBT rights expert.

He said: “It is anchored in international human rights law, and it is a momentous commitment to multilateralism. It is an invitation to be forward looking and an incentive to move forward together.”

Mr. Muntarbhorn said the “universal umbrella of human rights” offered a blueprint for the respect of diversity and appreciation of our common humanity.

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2 Comments

  1. Mitch
    October 30, 05:20 Reply

    ……the “universal umbrella of human rights” offered a blueprint for the respect of diversity and appreciation of our common humanity……

    This is all that needs to be said on the topic of human rights and human liberty. Times are changing and if we don’t change with them, we’d soon find ourselves on the wrong side of history, especially the African continent and the bulk of religious states.

  2. quinn
    October 30, 15:51 Reply

    Can’t wait for all this to be history.

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