In a declaration on behalf of the EU to mark this occasion, the High Representative Federica Mogherini explains how worldwide, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people are still frequently subject to discrimination and maltreatment on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity or sex characteristics. In many countries having same sex partners remains a crime. People are arrested, imprisoned, or even executed. Even in countries with legal protection of sexual orientation, homophobia, transphobia and biphobia stigmatisation remains high, leading to social exclusion with economic and health-related costs on societies.
On this day the EU pays tribute to all those working to promote and protect the human rights of LGBTI persons. Allow us to reiterate that "Human rights Defenders, you are not alone and the European Union will always be with you", the EU stated in its declaration.
This year, the global community of sexual and gender minorities picked the theme “Alliances for Solidarity” as the focus issue for celebrations around May 17. It encourages everyone to join forces and keep strengthening alliances, as engaging in collective action is needed to ensure safety, fight violence, lobby for legal change, and campaign to change hearts and minds, just as the different colours of the spectrum come together to make a unified peaceful rainbow.
2018 is an important year for human rights, as we mark the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Its first article reads "all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights". LGBTI people are no exception, and the EU will therefore continue to fight for "equal rights for all" regardless of sexual orientation.
Images : AFP, EU