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Secretary-General affirms United Nations support for LGBTI rights

UN Secretary‑General António Guterres reiterated the international body’s support for the LGBTQIA community, stating that “everyone, regardless of who they are and whom they love, has the right to dignity and respect.”

Screencap during UN Secretary‑General António Guterres' presentation of his annual report on the work of the UN

UN Secretary‑General António Guterres reiterated the international body’s support for the LGBTQIA community, stating that “everyone, regardless of who they are and whom they love, has the right to dignity and respect.”

Guterres delivered his message to the United Nations Core Group meeting on “Ending Hate Speech against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender People in Social and Traditional Media — Freedom of Speech vs. License to Hate”, in New York.

Guterres is actually echoing the position of the former UN head, Ban Ki-moon, who repeatedly voiced his support for the human rights of LGBTQIA people, even condemning governments around the world that refuse to tackle discrimination against LGBT people. “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,” he said in 2013.

For his part, Guterres stated that: “Hate speech is often used to dehumanize already marginalized groups and individuals, exacerbating discrimination and inciting violence.  It is an attack on the very essence of human rights and an affront to us all.

“Hatred against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community is perpetrated by people of all kinds, including religious and political leaders, and amplified through both traditional and social media.  Too often, there is no real protection.  On the contrary; in many places lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people face prosecution and punishment for their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Social media platforms and algorithms that amplify opinions often facilitate the spread of hate speech.  But these same tools can be used to monitor the rise of such discourse and build support for inclusion and diversity.”

The UN head stated that he already launched the United Nations Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech earlier this year to “stand up for the rights” of people “so long as people face discrimination and violence because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

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