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UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon Denounces Attacks on LGBTI People in Sochi Remarks: VIDEO

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UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon gave a speech ahead of the Olympic games in Sochi condemned attacks on LGBTI people worldwide without specifically mentioning Russia's anti-gay law, the Guardian reports:

BankimoonBan Ki-moon, addressing the IOC before Friday's opening ceremony, highlighted the fact that the theme of the UN's human rights day last December was "sport comes out against homophobia".

"Many professional athletes, gay and straight, are speaking out against prejudice. We must all raise our voices against attacks on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex people," he said. "We must oppose the arrests, imprisonments and discriminatory restrictions they face."

"The United Nations stands strongly behind our own 'free and equal' campaign, and I look forward to working with the IOC, governments and other partners around the world to build societies of equality and tolerance. Hatred of any kind must have no place in the 21st century."

He offered further remarks at a separate press conference with IOC president Thomas Bach.

Watch both clips, AFTER THE JUMP...

KozakRussian deputy prime minister Dmitry Kozak was later asked for his reaction to the UN secretary general's remarks, USA Today reports:

Kozak was also asked for his reaction to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who blasted any "arrests, imprisonments and discriminatory restrictions" carried out against homosexuals during a speech to the IOC on Thursday morning. The comments were pointed toward Russia's so-called "gay propaganda" law, which has inspired various forms of protest and political blowback leading up to the Games.

Kozak essentially repeated Russian president Vladimir Putin, who said the law only bans propaganda aimed at minors and that gay athletes and visitors won't be arrested in Sochi.

"We don't differentiate between people depending on nationality, religion or sexual relations," Kozak said. "We are all grown-ups and any adult has the right to understand their sexual acts. Please don't touch the kids, that's the only thing."

Watch Ban-Ki's remarks, AFTER THE JUMP...

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UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon Expresses 'Deep Concern' Over Arrests, Torture of Gays in Nigeria

UN Secretary Ban Ki-Moon has released a statement through his spokesperson on the situation in Nigeria, where the arrests and torture of gay people have been reported following the signing of an anti-gay law by President Goodluck Jonathan.

The statement: Bankimoon

The Secretary-General shares the deep concern expressed yesterday by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, following the recent signing into law of the Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act in Nigeria. The law introduces a wide range of offences, in breach of fundamental human rights, including 14-year jail terms for same-sex couples who live together or attempt to solemnize their union with a ceremony. The Secretary-General fears that the law may fuel prejudice and violence, and notes with alarm reports that police in northern Nigeria have arrested individuals believed by the authorities to be homosexuals, and may even have tortured them.  As UNAIDS and the Global Fund noted in a statement yesterday, the law also risks obstructing effective responses to HIV/AIDS.

The Secretary-General reiterates that everyone is entitled to enjoy the same basic rights and live a life of worth and dignity without discrimination. This fundamental principle is embedded in the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Secretary-General strongly hopes that the constitutionality of the law can be reviewed. The United Nations stands ready to assist Nigeria in any way to bring about constructive dialogue and change on this matter.


'Pride House' Calls on UN to Denounce Russia's Anti-Gay Laws

Screen Shot 2013-09-20 at 4.32.59 PMAn international coalition of LGBT sports and human rights activists have demanded that the United Nations take action to support LGBT people before the Sochi Olympics in 2014. 

Pride House International is calling for the UN flag to not be flown at the games (as is the tradition), for the rainbow symbol to be protected (as well as all those who adopt the symbol), and for Ban Ki Moon, the UN Secretary-General, to denounce Russia's crackdown on LGBT people during the "Solemn Appeal for an Olympic Truce". 

In a press release, members of Pride House "expressed their dismay at the failure of the United Nations to make a clear statement against Russian anti-gay laws in their draft resolution for an Olympic Truce."

The Olympic Truce, a call for peace and understanding during the Olympics, hearkens back to the custom of ekecheiria during the ancient Olympics. It is now the practice of the United Nations General Assembly to approve a resolution calling for an Olympic Truce prior to each edition of the Olympic Games. Despite efforts by many in the United Nations, the resolution proposed by the government of Russia fails to include specific language against LGBT discrimination, and of course does not denounce the current situation of homophobia that imperils the principle of sport for all and sport as a human right during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games."

In August Pride House, in conjunction with other LGBT organizations, launched a protest campaign called the "Same-sex Hand-Holding Initiative" which, simply, calls on everyone (athletes, coaches, spectators, staff, etc.) to hold hands with members of the same sex as often as possible in Russia during the Olympics. The protest is an effort to bypass the Internationl Olympic Committee-sanctioned ban on more overt displays of same-sex support like kissing or rainbow paraphernalia. 

Towleroad reported last month on the IOC's coming out against pro-gay advocacy at the Olympics:

According to the report [released by Gay Star News, the IOC plans equate any displays of LGBT rights advocacy or solidarity with a "demonstration of political, religious or racial propaganda", which is prohibited by Rule 50 if the organization's charter. Those found in violation of Rule 50 can be subject to "disqualification or withdrawal of the accreditation of the person concerned," without any sort of appeal. The IOC spokeswoman who spoke to Gay Star News did not specify if those found "in violation of Rule 50" would also be subject to any punitive action by Russian authorities. 

 


UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon: Governments Have a Duty to Uphold the Rights of LGBT People — VIDEO

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UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon spoke out for LGBT rights at the Oslo Conference on Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity on Monday, blasting government and religious anti-LGBT oppression.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP....

Said the Secretary General in his statement:

We should all be outraged when people suffer discrimination, assault and even murder – simply because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. We should all speak out when someone is arrested and imprisoned because of who they love or how they look. This is one of the great, neglected human rights challenges of our time. We must right these wrongs.

Governments have a legal duty to protect everyone. But far too many still refuse to acknowledge the injustice of homophobic violence and discrimination. We need to document this problem and share information with States on a regular basis for discussion and action.

We must institutionalize our efforts to address discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. We need public education to change popular attitudes.

Some will oppose change. They may invoke culture, tradition or religion to defend the status quo. Such arguments have been used to try to justify slavery, child marriage, rape in marriage and female genital mutilation.

I respect culture, tradition and religion – but they can never justify the denial of basic rights.

My promise to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members of the human family is this: I am with you. I promise that as Secretary-General of the United Nations, I will denounce attacks against you …. and I will keep pressing leaders for progress.

I am committed to leading a global campaign in partnership with the United Nations human rights office. I count on others to join us. Together, we can make the world safer, freer and more equal for everyone.

Thank you.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

It is not the first time he has spoken in support of LGBT people. At a UN Human Rights Council hearing on LGBT equality in March 2012, he denounced violence and discrimination, inspiring a walk-out by leaders of Islamic and African nations. He also appeared at a UN panel against homophobia with Ricky Martin last December.

Continue reading "UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon: Governments Have a Duty to Uphold the Rights of LGBT People — VIDEO" »


UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon Condemns Oppression of LGBT People at Human Rights Day Forum: REMARKS

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Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon offered powerful remarks at a Human Right Day forum earlier today at the United Nations called "Leadership in the Fight against Homophobia"

I'll post a video if it becomes available, but following are his remarks, in full:

Thank you all for coming to this remarkable meeting. What a meaningful way to commemorate Human Rights Day. I welcome all of the activists, supporters and others here today.

The very first article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaims that, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”

All human beings – not some, not most, but all.

No one gets to decide who is entitled to human rights and who is not.

The United Nations has a proud record of combating racism, promoting gender equality, protecting children and breaking down barriers facing persons with disabilities. We have a long way to go in all of these areas. But we are turning the tide on discrimination in both law and practice. Slowly, some old prejudices have started to dissolve.

Yet others remain in place, with horrendous consequences.

Around the world, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are targeted, assaulted and sometimes killed. Children and teens are taunted by their peers, beaten and bullied, pushed out of school, disowned by their own families, forced into marriage … and, in the worst cases, driven to suicide.

CONTINUED, AFTER THE JUMP...

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UN Secretary General's Speech on LGBT Human Rights Gets an Inspiring Remix: VIDEO

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UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon's March 7 speech to the UN about the human rights of LGBT rights around the world has been given an inspiring remix by activist group AllOut.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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