Timor Leste: PM comes out supporting LGBTI rights

In an act described as a ‘breath of hope in the region’, Timor Leste’s Prime Minister has made a definitive statement in support of LGBTI rights.

Rui Maria De Araujo is the Prime Minister of Timor Leste (East Timor) and is now the first Southeast Asian leader to publicly support LGBTI rights. The small country is located in the Timor Sea between Indonesia, Australia and Papua New Guinea. It gained independence from Indonesia in 2002 and has since worked to build itself as an autonomous nation-state in the region. Timor Leste is known as a region leader on human rights and the PM’s statement confirms that.

‘Everyone has the potential to contribute to the development of the nation, including members of the LGBT community,’ De Araujo said in a video last week. ‘Discrimination, disrespect and abuse towards people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity does not provide any benefit to our nation.’

De Argujo argued for the young nation to develop its people needed to live free from violence and discrimination. ‘For a nation to develop well, every young person needs to be able to grow up in an environment that provides them with protection, love, and opportunities for personal growth – regardless of their differences,’ he said. Read more via Gay Star News