|Picture From Facebook Profile Aimed At|
The United Nations (UN) and UNAIDS on Friday showed support to the international lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community on the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO).
In a message, UN Resident Coordinator, Richard Blewitt, praised the Government of Trinidad and Tobago for its willingness to address the issue from a “public policy perspective” when it participated in the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ Universal Periodic Review (UPR) — a process through which states hold one another accountable on their human rights records.
“On October 7, 2011, the Government accepted a recommendation to undertake proactive policies to promote the rights of individuals regarding sexual orientation and their HIV/AIDS status,” said Blewit, noting that education and engagement were essential for building a more just and equitable society.
“The United Nations system applauds this vision. We extend to the Government and population of Trinidad and Tobago our technical expertise to support the progress of national dialogue, policy development, social protection and accountability that are central to securing the human rights of all people, regardless of difference. As the Secretary General reiterates, we must continue working for a world of “true freedom and equality for all,” he continued.
Blewitt noted that, in his official statement on the Day, UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, stressed that LGBT persons had been subjected to violence, treated with contempt, derision and discrimination based on their sexual orientation. “They have been made to feel anything but free and equal. For far too long, their suffering was met with silence in the halls of power,” Ki-moon said.
IDAHO, explained Blewitt, commemorated World Health Organisation’s decision to stop classifying homosexuality as a disease or mental disorder, but a “normal variation of human sexuality.”
UNAIDS Executive Director, Michel Sidibé, said it was because of the courage of LGBT persons, the would has seen extraordinary progress against AIDS. However, the continued, stigma and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity still drive new HIV infections and are an obstacle to treatment efforts.
“We call on political and community leaders to cast aside discriminatory laws and social practices. The right to health belongs to everyone. Everyone should have access to HIV prevention, care, treatment and support,” said Sidibé.