“Our lives are not negotiable” Activists call on governments to end human rights violations experienced by those with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions

Published on April 11, 2014

During the 47th session of the UN Commission on Population and Development (CPD), individuals with diverse sexual orientations and gender identities, and their allies, came together to voice concerns regarding ongoing violations of the human rights of individuals with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions.

This CPD, governments came together to assess progress towards the implementation of the 20-year Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). Outcomes from the CPD will feed into ongoing discussions regarding the formulation of the Post-2015 development agenda. The statement, delivered during the 5th and final day of the CPD calls on governments to recognize and fulfil the human rights of all people regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression “as a crucial step towards fulfillment of the ICPD commitments and development.” The statement ends by stating that “It is time for governments to acknowledge what we all know to be true: our lives are not negotiable.”

Read the full statement below.

Source: UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs




Statement for General Discussion: on behalf of the Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) Caucus

Delivered by: Joel Mark Barredo

Distinguished delegates and friends, I share with you a statement endorsed by 97 organizations from 39 countries.

People with diverse sexual orientations and gender identities and expressions experience crippling violence and debilitating discrimination in all regions of the world.

We are kicked out of housing, bullied out of schools, denied employment and refused the most basic healthcare services, including those related to sexual and reproductive health. Legal and socially condoned discrimination against our communities marginalizes many of us, putting us at additional risk of violence, HIV, and other health problems. Discrimination and stigma further prevents us from seeking or receiving needed care. Too often, the result is preventable suffering, institutional violence and poverty, hindering our enjoyment of the right to development.

The first principle of the ICPD Programme of Action reaffirms that all human beings are born free and equal, without distinction of any kind. Everyone is equally entitled to the enjoyment of all human rights regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Human rights, equality, and non-discrimination are not “controversial issues.” They are the building blocks of development and are fundamental to ensuring strong societies. The ICPD Programme of Action recognizes the central role that human rights play in the achievement of sustainable development. The attempts to silence discussion about human rights within this Commission are a shameful derogation from the accepted principles and standards of the ICPD Programme of Action. It is also unacceptable for representatives of States to attempt to derail negotiations by manipulating ideas about sexual orientation, gender identity and sexual rights for political gain.

To continue to deny the recognition of these universal human rights and perpetuate hatred, violence and discrimination towards people of diverse sexualities and genders is a disservice to this Commission and the principles it represents.

Despite the attempt by a few to render lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer persons invisible here, we draw strength from the knowledge that we are anything but invisible. In our advocacy, we clearly, publicly, and repeatedly draw attention to the discrimination we face and to our global resistance and activism in the face of adversity.

And we are not alone. In various global spaces, including here at the UN, many countries, including from Asia, Pacific, Southern Africa, and Latin America, have stood up for fulfilling the human rights of all people. They stressed the need to combat human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity if we are to achieve any development goals. We commend the leadership of those who speak up for the recognition of our communities.

The recognition and fulfillment of the human rights and development of all people, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, is a crucial step towards fulfillment of the ICPD commitments and development. It is time for governments to acknowledge what we all know to be true: our lives are not negotiable.

This statement was delivered on behalf of the Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) Caucus at CPD47 and the following 97 organizations from 39 countries endorsed:

  1. Action Canada for Population and Development, Canada
  2. Advocates for Youth, Global (U.S.)
  3. Akahata Equipo de trabajo en Sexualidades y generos, Regional: Latin America
  4. Alianza por la Solidaridad, Spain
  5. All Out, USA
  6. Amnesty International, Global
  7. Arus Pelangi, Indonesia
  8. ASEAN Youth Movement, Southeast
  9. Asia Asian Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (ARROW),
  10. Asia-Pacific Association of Transgender People in the Philippines, Philippines
  11. Astra Youth, Regional: Eastern Europe
  12. Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, United States
  13. Balance Promocion para el Desarrollo y Juventud AC, México
  14. Believe Out Loud, United States
  15. Cambodia LGBT Legal Support, Cambodia
  16. Cambodia Women & Choices, Cambodia
  17. Cambodia ASEAN & Human Rights, Cambodia
  18. Cambodia Children & Choices, Cambodia
  19. Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, Canada
  20. Center for Creative Initiatives in Health and Popultion (CCIHP), Vietnam
  21. Centre for Health, Education, Training and Nutrition Awarenss-CHETNA, India
  22. Chair, Tonga
  23. CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality, The Netherlands
  24. Closet de Sor Juana, México
  25. The Coalition for the Defense of Sexual Rights (CDSR), Nigeria
  26. COC Netherlands, Netherlands
  27. Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era, International
  28. Diverse Voices and Action for Equality, Fiji
  29. Drodrolagi Movement, Fiji
  30. Equality Alliance, Philippines
  31. Equality Myanmar, Myanmar
  33. Fellowship for Reconciliation, United States
  34. Fiji Women’s rights movement, Fiji
  36. Fundacion Arcoiris, México
  37. GAYa NUSANTARA, Indonesia
  38. Global Youth Coalition on HIV/AIDS (GYCA), Global
  39. Grupo de Información en Reproducción Elegida, México
  40. Haus of Khameleon, Fiji
  41. HERA – Health Education and Research Association, Macedonia
  42. Indonesia for Human’s, Indonesia
  43. INPPARES, Peru
  44. INTER-MUJERES, Instituto de Estudios sobre Mujeres, Género y Derecho, Puerto Rico
  45. International Centre for Sexual Reproductive Rights (INCRESE), Nigeria
  46. International Community of Women Living with HIV, Global
  47. International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations, Global
  48. International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), International
  49. International Gays and Lesbians Association, Switzerland
  50. International HIV/AIDS Alliance, International
  51. International Women’s Health Coalition, United States
  52. Ipas, Global
  53. Italian association for women in development, Italy
  54. Lesbian and Gay Federation in Germany LSVD, Germany
  55. LGBT Centre of Mongolia, Mongolia
  56. LLH-the Norwegian Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Organisation, Norway
  57. MANODIVERSA, Bolivia
  58. Médicos del Mundo España, España
  59. Micro Rainbow International, Global
  60. MONFEMNET National Network Mongolia, Mongolia
  61. Mongolian Family Welfare Association, Mongolia
  62. Mouvement pour le Libertés Individuelles / MOLI, Burundi
  63. Mujer Y Salud en Uruguay MYSU, Uruguay
  64. Myanmar Youth Stars, Myanmar
  65. Naripokkho, Bangladesh
  66. NGOs coalition against FGM,
  67. Oceania Pride, Fiji Islands
  68. Pacific Feminist SRHR Coalition, Regional Pacific
  69. Pacific Sexual Diversity Network, Regional Pacific
  70. People Like Us, Singapore
  71. Procuraduria para la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos, Nicaragua
  72. PROFAMILIA Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico
  73. Rainbow Cambodia Advocate Team, Cambodia
  74. Rainbow Rights Project, Philippines
  75. RESURJ: Realizing Sexual and Reproductive Justice, Global
  76. RFSU/IPPF MA, Sweden
  77. SAHAYOG, India
  78. Sayoni, Singapore
  79. Sensoa, Belgium
  80. Shirkat Gah, Pakistan
  81. Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD), Guyana
  82. Sonke Gender Justice
  83. Spectrum Uganda, Uganda
  85. STRAP (Society of Transsexual Women of the Philippines), Philippines
  86. The YP Foundation, India
  87. Think Centre, Singapore
  88. UniBAM, Belize
  89. Urgent Action Fund-Africa, Kenya
  90. Vien Tanjung: Indonesia for Human’s, Indonesia
  91. Voice for Change, Jiwaka Province, Papua New Guinea
  92. WISH2.Be, Belgium
  93. Women Deliver, International
  94. Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR), Global
  95. YouAct: European Youth Network on Sexual and Reproductive Rights, European Region
  96. Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights, Global
  97. YSAFE (Youth Sexual Awareness for Europe), Belgium