On Thursday, Oct 26 , 2017 the International Fellowship of Reconciliation hosted an unprecedented gathering of conservative & progressive religious leaders, diplomats and human rights experts in a project called the Ethics of Reciprocity (EOR). The International Fellowship of Reconciliation has a long history of engagement at the intersection of gender and peace building and has a long history of advocacy against violence and discrimination on the basis of gender. With millions of people around the world suffering increasing amounts of violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, IFOR is proud to host this important conversation. EOR was envisioned by IFOR’s representative to the United Nations Dr. Patricia Ackerman.
Remarks by UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights – Andrew Gilmour
Thank you to the organizers of today’s event – particularly Reverend Ackerman and Geronimo Desumala – and to the Arcus Foundation for their support.
I like the title you chose for today’s discussion: the “Ethics of Reciprocity”. The idea that we should treat others as we wish them to treat us – often referred to as “The Golden Rule” – finds echoes in all of the world’s major religions – especially those represented here today.
I want to commend the organizers for the lengths they have gone to to bring people of conflicting views on LGBTI issues – including some who have spoken publicly in the past of their discomfort with the subject.
We’ve never before had so many faith leaders from different communities gathered here at the UN with the express purpose of discussing how to approach the challenge of protecting LGBTI people from violence and discrimination. So this is an important first.
Our Office – the UN Human Rights Office – has pushed hard for Governments to do more to safeguard the rights of members of the LGBTI community and to address high rates of violence, discrimination and social exclusion that affect millions of LGBTI people around the world.
We have done so because the evidence tells us that every day LGBTI people are attacked and even killed because of who they are and whom they love.
We have done so because in countries right around the world, being gay or trans or intersex means that people get treated differently – and unfairly – including in the workplace.
And we have done so because every day, LGBTI young people – especially adolescents at school – face brutal and relentless bullying because they don’t quite fit traditional gender stereotypes. Tragically, many of those young people end up being driven out of school, running away from home, and become isolated, depressed – sometimes suicidal.