From United Nations

Imagine a Free & Equal World: International Human Rights Day

Today is International Human Rights Day and a celebration of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations on December 10, 1948.

“Upholding human rights is in the interest of all. Respect for human rights advances well-being for every individual, stability for every society, and harmony for our interconnected world,” United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

In 2006, in response to well-documented patterns of discrimination and violence against LGBT persons and their families, a distinguished group of international human rights experts met in Yogyakarta, Indonesia to outline a set of international principles relating to sexual orientation and gender identity. The result was the Yogyakarta Principles, a universal guide to human rights which affirm binding international legal standards and moral imperatives with which all States should recognize.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights from 1948 and the Yogykarta Principles from 2006, help us imagine a different future where all people born free and equal in dignity and rights can fulfil that precious birthright.

The United Nations Free and Equal campaign created this wonderful Bollywood video featuring Celina Jaitly, Equality Champion, The Welcome. This film captures the heart and spirit of human dignity and these human rights principles we remember on this day. Our hope, prayer and work is that this story will be the reality for every LGBT person and their family some day soon. We are all children of God and one human family.

Photo: LGBT rights march in El Salvador. Courtesy of Amnesty International.

Celebrating Same­-Sex Love at the United Nations

History was made this week at the United Nations as same­-sex love and relationships were recognized and celebrated. Daniela Mercury and her wife Malu Verçosa Mercury spoke to media at the United Nations in New York City and at this forum: Protecting the Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) People in Latin America: ­­A Decade of Progress. Daniela Mercury is a Brazilian musician who has sold over 20 million albums and Malu Verçosa Mercury is a journalist. Daniela Mercury is a UN Equality Champion and a UNICEF Ambassador for Brazil. Daniela and Malu were married in 2014 in the company of family and friends.

The video Celebrate Love! is the new resource from the United Nation’s Free and Equal Campaign. It features a new song by Daniela Mercury and footage from Daniela and Malu’s wedding ceremony and celebration.

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LGBT History Made at the UN Security Council

Two gay men who escaped Syria and Iraq with their lives shared their experiences of discrimination and violence against LGBT people at a historic session of the UN Security Council in New York City on August 24. Subhi Nahas, a Syrian refugee living in the United States, addressed the council in person. Out of concern for his family’s safety back in Iraq, “Adan” spoke to the council by cell phone using a pseudonym.

“It’s about time, 70 years after the creation of the UN, that the fate of LGBT persons who fear for their lives around the world is taking center stage. This represents a small but historic step,” said Samantha Power, US Ambassador to the United Nations.

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Gay Syrian refugee Subhi Nahas and the US ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power.

Chile’s Ambassador to the UN, Cristian Barros Melet joined the US Ambassador Samantha Power in organizing this special meeting of the UN Security Council. While LGBT rights have been the subject of several meetings of the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva, this was the first time LGBT persons and rights were the focus of a meeting of the UN Security Council. Read more