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UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia

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"We know that stigma and discrimination remain a stark reality for many gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) individuals around the world. And sadly, as we celebrate this year's IDAHOBIT Day, it is becoming clear that the COVID-19 pandemic has, in many places, made this situation worse."

"LGBTI people are often exposed to additional stigma, discrimination and violence, including when seeking medical services – and perhaps saddest of all, within their own families during lock-downs. They are also in some places being treated as scapegoats for the spread of the virus."

"I urge everyone to stand up against hate, and to break the silence surrounding the discrimination and violence suffered by LGBTI people. Let us counter the homophobic, transphobic and biphobic attitudes and narratives that have such a devastating impact on the lives of so many human beings worldwide."

"The UN Human Rights Office has been at the forefront in promoting equality and fair treatment of LGBTI people, and I am proud of the role we have played in that effort.* And, for all the concern we have about continuing stigma and discrimination, it is important to recognize that there has been considerable progress in recent decades, from decriminalization of same sex relations, to marriage equality, to enactment of laws prohibiting homophobic and transphobic discrimination. But this progress is not universal. Nor, as we see now, is it necessarily irreversible, so I call on everyone to join us in making a real effort to stand up for the human rights of everyone, including LGBTI people, everywhere."

ENDS

*The UN Free & Equal Campaign aims to win respect, recognition, and acceptance for the human rights of lesbian, gay, bi, trans, and intersex (LGBTI) people around the world. The campaign targets parents, students, teachers, journalists, and policymakers, especially in countries where LGBTI communities face hostility and hardship and aims to cultivate new allies in the fight for equality. It has campaigned in some 35 countries so far, with more than a dozen active full-scale national campaigns currently. A mini-campaign called "Break the Silence" was launched under the Free & Equal umbrella on 14 May, honouring community members and allies who refuse to be silent in the face of injustice. The campaign features a short video (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish) as well as tips for potential allies who want to speak out for a more equal world.

For more information and media requests, please contact: Rupert Colville - + 41 22 917 9767 / rcolville@ohchr.org or Jeremy Laurence - + 41 22 917 9383 / jlaurence@ohchr.org orLiz Throssell - + 41 22 917 9296 / ethrossell@ohchr.org or Marta Hurtado - + 41 22 917 9466 / mhurtado@ohchr.org

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