IDAHOTB: Justice and Protection for All
Justice and Protection for All - A special event to celebrate the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia
Statement by Ms Anne Gueguen, Deputy Permanent of France to the United Nations
17 May 2019
Thank you. I find it both very moving and very energizing to see so many of us gathered here, determined to fight against all forms of discrimination and hatred based on sexual orientation and gender identity. It is very important that we all celebrate progress, both social and legal progress. But we all are also acutely aware that discrimination persists. In more than 70 states, homosexuality is still a crime, and in 12 of them it’s punishable by the death penalty. This is why decriminalization is a priority for France.
The question I’d like to ask is: how can we continue to make a difference and really eliminate hatred and discrimination both in law and practice?
First at the United Nations, we have to continue working together as the LGBTI core group, to raise awareness and advance the LBGTI human rights agenda, and this in accordance with international human rights laws. We, as the core group, organize this event every year with the NGO Outrights, and really I would like to commend your work. We also work with the OHCHR campaign "Free and Equals". France also joined the Equals rights coalition, and we very much look forward to the joint leadership of Argentina and the UK and to working together in this framework. As you (Jessica Stern) and the Ambassador of Spain highlighted, we have to work together both in Geneva and in New York, in the coming weeks on the renewal of the mandate of the independent expert on combating discrimination against LGBT persons. That is very important.
The second thing I wanted to say is that we need to continue supporting local actors. We have seen how crucial their role is to move forward and to achieve legal and social change. France pays tribute to the courage of all the NGOs which are working in very difficult contexts. I have a special thought for people in Chechnya. Thanks to the intervention of some local actors, persecuted Chechen homosexuals fled to France where they were able to obtain asylum. NGOs are also crucial to obtain justice in the face of violence and discrimination, and to ensure that homosexuality is no longer considered a crime. I would like here to particularly salute and thank our speakers from Guyana and Kenya for their impressive courage and action. It is because of people like you that France supports civil society organizations, through an international support fund dedicated to local NGOs and through the participation in international LBGTI conferences and activities. You said it, we have to rejoice all together for each step in the right direction and in this regard I would like to congratulate all Taiwanese LGBTI couples who since today have the legal right to marry. And I would also like to highlight and emphasize the role of the private sector. It is very important to also continue action there. France encourages its enterprises and companies to adopt the standards of conduct for tackling discrimination against LGBTI people, that have been developed by OHCHR.
Last point, the third way we can continue making a difference is by moving forward to promoting multilateral action at the regional level. We have heard the Commissioner of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. This is exemplary work and we should feel inspired in all the other regional courts and institutions. We are going to try our best to do it as France is taking over the chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. The Council of Europe brings together 47 member states. I think this will be an opportunity to continue raising awareness and working on this topic.
A last word to say that we really look forward to continue working collectively, so that all people benefit from the same protection, wherever they are, whomever they love.