Criminalizing same-sex relations a violation of human rights

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At least 76 countries retain laws that criminalize same-sex relations, or contain vague prohibitions that are applied in a discriminatory way to prosecute lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay says the laws not only breach international human rights law, but also cause unnecessary suffering, reinforce stigma, fuel violence and undermine efforts to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Addressing the UN Human Rights Council, Ms Pillay urged governments to prosecute and punish those who perpetrate discrimination and violence against gay and lesbian people.

"I know some will resist what we are saying. They may argue that homosexuality and expressions of transgender identity conflict with local cultural or traditional values, or with religious teachings, or that they run counter to public opinion. We should not dismiss these concerns but listen carefully, focus on the violations, and try to make headway in spite of the difficulties. No personal opinion, no religious belief, no matter how deeply held or widely shared, can ever justify depriving another human being of his or her basic rights. States should change discriminatory laws that treat people as criminals on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. In their place, we need new laws that provide adequate legal protection to people at risk of homophobic or transphobic discrimination."

Duration 52″

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December 2017
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