The United States thanks the Independent Expert for his service as the first-ever UN Independent Expert on protection from violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. This is a mandate that is of critical importance to the United States, especially at a time when LGBTI individuals around the world are being murdered, tortured, and attacked.
Dignity and equality are core universal human rights values, and they are American values underpinned by our Constitution. The United States will continue to stand up for the human rights of all persons. The United States opposes all forms of discrimination, and we appreciate the Independent Expert’s focus on grave human rights violations. In 2017, it is unacceptable that LGBTI persons face criminal charges related to LGBTI status or conduct in around 80 countries. It is intolerable that same sex conduct is punishable by the death penalty in some countries around the world. We appreciate the Independent Expert’s focus on this important issue.
When we receive reports of the murder, kidnapping, and torture of LGBTI individuals, we must all call out those violations and the governments perpetrating them. The recent cases in several countries of arbitrary arrests, disappearances, and crackdowns on the fundamental freedom of LGBTI persons are incredibly disturbing.
Our question is: what are the tools you have employed as you engage with governments that criminalize same-sex conduct, and what more do you believe the international community can do to ensure these issues remain a priority?