Joining forces to promote SOGI rights

International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia is marked every year on 17th May. To celebrate, this year we’ve brought together the testimony of our members to produce an animated film: ‘Beyond Tolerance’. Narrated by Victor Madrigal-Borloz, the UN Independent Expert on Protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, ‘Beyond Tolerance’ reminds everyone of the importance of upholding the human rights of LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) people and the work of our members to achieve this.

Every person has the right to be treated equally and to live a life free from discrimination and persecution. However, in the Commonwealth, nearly two-thirds of countries still criminalise same-sex activity between adults and many people continue to face discrimination, violence and abuse because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

The theme for IDAHOBIT 2020 is ‘Breaking the Silence’ and across the Commonwealth NHRIs are raising our voices to promote the human rights of LGBTI people:

Kyriacos Kyriacou, Office of the Commissioner for Administration and the Protection of Human Rights, Cyprus:

“The ultimate goal is for all people to be treated equally and for everyone to recognise that LGBTI people have the same human rights as everyone else.”

Read more about the Office of the Commissioner for Administration and the Protection of Human Rights’ work to uphold SOGI rights

Charles Dean,  National Human Rights Commission Samoa:

“Cultural mindsets are the biggest barriers to progress. We need to remind people that human rights are universal and apply to everyone regardless. Everyone should be treated with respect and equality.”

Read more about the National Human Rights Commission Samoa’s work to uphold SOGI rights

In Eswatini, the Commission on Human Rights and Public Administration Integrity has been working with community members to understand the barriers and discrimination that LGBTI people face. Read more about this work here.

David Isaac, Chair of the Commonwealth Forum:

“Networks like the Commonwealth Forum of National Human Rights Institutions bring together human rights experts from around the world to share intelligence and improve collective action to protect and enhance human rights both locally and internationally.”

Read David’s thoughts on the importance of working collaboratively across the Commomwealth to uphold LGBTI rights.

NHRIs across the Commonwealth are committed to working to advance rights, respect and equality for LGBTI people, and to eliminate discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. You can find out more in our resources and updates sections.

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