This year there have been a number of crackdowns against the gay community in a string of separate countries across the world.
In a landmark address to the United Nations General Assembly in New York, a UN expert on LGBT issues warned about a “crucible” of rights violations.
The UN’s first Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, Vitit Muntarbhorn, made the warning today.
The Thai human rights monitor warned that immediate action is needed to stop a global crisis, as LGBT people around the world suffer horrific violations of their human rights.
Mr Muntarbhorn said: “It is unconscionable that people with an actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression different from a particular social norm, are targeted for violence and discrimination in many parts of the world.
“LGBT people are suffering a crucible of egregious violations, including killings, rape, mutilation, torture, arbitrary detention, abduction, harassment, physical and mental assaults. They are subjected to lashings and forced surgical interventions, bullying from a young age, incitement to hatred and pressures leading to suicide.
“More than 70 countries around the world today still criminalize same-sex relations, and in some of them the death penalty may be applied.
“Even where there is no law criminalizing consensual same-sex relations, laws on public decency, public order and social peace are used in some countries to incriminate people under the umbrella of sexual orientation, gender identity and related gender expression.”
The human rights expert called for all laws criminalizing same-sex relationships to be removed from the statute books, also calling for an end to anti-LGBT ‘gagging’ laws used for the purpose of consolidating power and suppressing dissent.
He also warned that human rights defenders were being increasingly targeted for their work in the field.
He said: “Non-governmental organizations, human rights defenders and activists, as well as independent national human rights institutions, play a crucial role in the advancement of an inclusive agenda for all without discrimination and distinction, including through the promotion of understanding of and respect for human rights and gender diversity.
“They are agents of change which can activate significant reform processes.”
Mr Muntarbhorn was first appointed to the role last year, as the UN’s first ever independent LGBT rights expert.
Just last week, a delegate representing Egypt, Belarus, Russia, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) States, minus Albania, rejected all cooperation with the international expert.
They said: “Our position on the matter is clear, that we do not recognize the mandate of the independent expert and therefore are not in a position to engage, interact or cooperate with the mandate holder.
“While reiterating our firm commitment to combat different forms of violence and discrimination, we believe that the resolution establishing the mandate adopted by a margin vote is highly divisive.