Over 80 Countries Sign UN Statement Condemning Rights Violations Against LGBTIs

Members of the United Nations Human Rights Council representing over eighty different countries signed a statement Tuesday calling for an end to violence, criminal sanctions and other human rights violations against people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Among several clauses, the statement says: “We express concern at continued evidence in every region of acts of violence and related human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity brought to the Council’s attention by Special Procedures since that time, including killings, rape, torture and criminal sanctions.”

This move, heavily supported by the Obama Administration, has been praised by international LGBTI groups who point out growing support among UN member nations.

From the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA):

“We welcome the Statement just read at the UN Human Rights Council and signed by 84 Countries, as a sign of the growing international, cross-regional consensus around the need to protect people persecuted because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Also to engage in a truly universal application of human rights,” said Renato Sabbadini, one of ILGA’s two Co-Secretary Generals, speaking from ILGA’s headquarters in Brussels. According to Sabbadini, “The strength of this Statement makes the defence of discrimination against lesbians, gays, bisexual, trans and intersex people on the basis of a mistaken sense of ‘tradition’ or ‘natural order’ more untenable than ever. Homophobia and transphobia are more and more acknowledged for what they truly are: the last crumbling pillars of a patriarchal order which belong with other dark pages of our past, like slavery and the Inquisition.”

Compared to a similar Human Rights Council joint declaration on this topic in 2006 and to a UN General Assembly Statement in 2008, this Statement acknowledges for the first time also the positive developments on recognition of LGBTI human rights in each region of the world. It also establishes as a principle that “no one should face stigmatization, violence or abuse on any ground, and that in dealing with sensitive issues, the Council must be guided by the principles of universality and non-discrimination.” This was enabled by the preceding 2008 UN General Assembly Statement, which for the first time inserted sexual orientation and gender identity in the UN interpretation of the Universal declaration of Human Rights, by reaffirming the non-discrimination principle of international law, requiring that human rights apply equally to each human being.


Apart from more countries signing the joint declaration, 84 this year to 66 in 2008 and 54 in 2006, there is also a shift towards more countries from the South signing on, including from regions where these issues are still highly sensitive like Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. Among the newcomers in signing the declaration are countries like: Dominica, Honduras, Central African Republic, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Seychelles.

A statement by Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe, U.S. Representative to the Human Rights Council, reads:

“We are proud to have taken a leading role on the statement issued today at the Human Rights Council [...] entitled ‘Ending Acts of Violence and Related Human Rights Violations Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.’ Human rights are the inalienable right of every person, no matter who they are or who they love. The U.S. government is firmly committed to supporting the right of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals to lead productive and dignified lives, free from fear and violence.  We look forward to working with other Governments from all regions and with civil society to continue dialogue at the Council on these issues.”

You can click here to read the full statement and to see a full list of the member countries who signed on here.

Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License, with thanks to -Marlith-.


Sue ( Snow Owl) Clayton

Aren't we ALL human beings?? Don't we ALL breath the same air?? Don't we ALL bleed red?? Don't we ALL have feelings?? WE ARE ALL EQUAL !!!!!!

Tricia Hamilton
Tricia Hamilton6 years ago

Why don't we all get together and do the right thing for everyone? Tricia

Norma V.
Norma Villarreal6 years ago

80 countries down, and how many to go? Let's treat one another as human beings, not as some label that destroys our dignity.

Rob and Jay B.
Jay S6 years ago

It's wonderful to see the number of nations respecting human rights of LGBT people going up each year, but still the number is less than half of the nations in the UN. How many years will it be until all countries stop persecuting, imprisoning or killing gay people - people who just happened to be born with a different sexual orientation, no different from being born with a different skin color? It is mostly religious ignorance & bigotry that promotes these old hatreds, stereotypes & old tribal mores. So we know there are some nations that will never respect human rights for all. So sad. But at least there is progress. So there is hope. Thanks to the Obama administration for their support on this in the UN. A similar resolution under the GW Bush regime voted against the protections & with the hate States like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Uganda etc. So, as disappointing as O has been in so many ways to those of us hoping for real progress & change in the way the US does things, he is definitely better than any Republican on equality issues.

Susan B.
Susan Barwan6 years ago

all this talk is great, but in the meantime, they still discriminate against gays in the US....so if the USA has signed on like they say, best for our government to actually DO something before i have to leave my country just to get married.

kenny s.
Kenny Stidham6 years ago

Go to YouTube and watch "The Ally Effect". This young coach is amazing and will help make the world a better place for all gays.

Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle6 years ago

It's progress, and an Obama priority, but ... why is there so much discrimination and violence against LGBTs in this country? and why do American citizens have to fight for their citizenship rights to marry? I believe in action, rather than words.

Helle H.
Helle H6 years ago

84 countries is good, but what about the rest. They still need to learn.

SK O6 years ago

The times really are changing !

Bart V.
Bart V.6 years ago

I'm quite surprised by the list of 84 countries that signed the declaration condemning LGBT rights violations. Some , I thought, had deplorable reputations for being intensely anti-gay. Fiji comes to mind.