Global LGBTI Human Rights Conference - Message by Jean-Marc Ayrault (Montevideo, July 13, 2016)

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Message by Jean-Marc Ayrault read by the French ambassador to Uruguay at the plenary session on international and regional diplomacy of the Global LGBTI Human Rights Conference (Montevideo, July 13, 2016)

Ministers,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Dear friends,

The horrific attack in Orlando, during which almost 50 people were shot down in cold blood and more than 50 wounded because of their sexual orientation and gender identity, has shown us to what extent we need to remain fully mobilized to defend equal dignity and rights for all people, regardless of ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity. I would like to take this opportunity to renew France’s condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims of that attack.

The Conference will be an opportunity to underline once again the seriousness of the fate of LGBTI persons worldwide.

Today still, homosexual relations carry prison sentences or even the death penalty in more than 70 countries. In others, homosexuality and trans-identity are regarded as diseases.

In a growing number of countries, we have observed the increasing attitude against alleged “homosexual propaganda” from abroad, as part of a more general trend of outright attack on the universality and supremacy of human rights, in the name of culture, religion and tradition.

We must not yield to this attitude which is fuelled by motley extremists. We must not scale down our ambition. We must not compromise human rights.

On the contrary, we must keep taking action with a view to our final objective which is the universal decriminalization of homosexuality and the end of discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

As we know, this war is far from being won. Everywhere in the world, the debate on the place of LGBTI persons in our societies is still one of the most divisive and sensitive issues.

That is why we must step up our efforts at the United Nations and in all regional and international bodies. In this regard, I welcome the establishment by the Human Rights Council on June 30 of a new mandate for an Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

We must also step up our advocacy work on the ground, particularly in countries where LGBTI persons are the most under threat.

France is fully mobilized in this fight, which is one of the priorities of our human rights diplomacy and of the French government. I am pleased to let you know that France has joined the equal rights coalition we are launching today.

Ladies and gentlemen,

You can count on France to continue to sustain with determination our common fight against discrimination and to support and protect the defenders of LGBTI persons’ rights who are in the forefront of this fight, for which they all too often pay a high price.

Thank you.