The UN has held its first ever ministerial meeting on LGBT rights, setting up the Free & Equal campaign to raise awareness of homophobic and transphobic violence and discrimination, and to promote greater respect for the rights of LGBT people everywhere.

The campaign intends to engage millions people around the world in conversations that will help promote the fair treatment of LGBT people and generate support for measures to protect their rights.

A three minute video from the meeting recorded strong statements by several attendees, who included the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the US Secretary of State, the Argentine, Brazilian, Croatian, Dutch and Norwegian foreign ministers, the French Minister of Development Cooperation, senior officials from the European Union, Japan and New Zealand, and the directors of Human Rights Watch and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission.

UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay said: ‘When I became high commissioner for human rights five years ago there was almost no discussion at the United Nations on the human rights challenges faced by lesbian, gay, transgender and intersex people. That is no longer the case.’

US Secretary of State John Kerry added: ‘When the United Nations was formed the founders declared this purpose: to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights and in the dignity and worth of the human person. We really do send a clear and compelling message by coming together today. And it is not just in support of gays and lesbians around the world, it is really in support of the founding values of this institution.’


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