UN calls for an end to homophobic bullying

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Children as young as 11 are being bullied because of their presumed sexual orientation or gender identity, according to Ivan Šimonović, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights.

Ivan Šimonović was speaking at an international meeting on homophobic bullying on Thursday, which saw the participation of human rights defenders.

Abuses can range from verbal taunting to serious physical attacks.

Mr. Šimonović recalled the death of Matthew Shepard, an American student of political science, who was tortured and killed because of his sexual orientation.

He called on participants to play a role in educating people to end discrimination and violence.

"We often think about homophobic bullying as a problem specific to school settings and adolescents. But the roots go deeper. They lie in prevailing harmful attitudes in society at large, sometimes encouraged by divisive public figures and discriminatory laws and practices sanctioned by State authorities."

Duration: 25''

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