Norway commends the efforts by South Africa and Brazil to organize the first panel in the UN Human Rights Council on how the UN can help to combat violence and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. This was a historic moment for the UN. The panel was a good contribution to the important debate on how the international community can promote effective protection of human rights for all.
The report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights displays the serious violations of human rights that are being committed on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. In a number of countries, all over the world, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people are subjected to violence, harassment and discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Homosexuality is criminalized in more than 76 countries. It is subject to death penalty in six countries.
Norway supports Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s call on all states to decriminalize homosexuality. This is not a question of creating new rights, but of following up the fact that human rights apply to all regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Norway further supports the High Commissioner’s recommendations to member states to combat impunity for killings and other serious abuses, systematic registration of such crimes, and information and awareness-raising campaigns targeted at the police, the judiciary and the education sector.
This issue is sensitive in many countries. It is therefore important to secure an open and inclusive dialogue, to increase common understanding and recognition of the challenges experienced by LGBTI-persons in all parts of the world.
In the panel debate, many countries expressed a wish to share experience of efforts to combat discrimination of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transpersons. Norway is also pleased to see that other UN agencies are working on this agenda, as UNESCOs campaign against homophobic bullying, and ILOs initiative to combat discrimination in the workplace of LGBTs.
This is a strong departure point for further debate which we welcome, including in the Human Rights Council.