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UN chief calls for equality for lesbians, gays and bisexuals

UN chief calls for equality for lesbians, gays and bisexuals

United Nations: In the wake of Indian Supreme Court's ruling that gay sex is illegal, UN chief Ban Ki-moon has stressed on the need for equality and opposed any discrimination against lesbians, gays and bisexuals.

The Secretary General "re-affirmed that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. He once again spoke out against discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex people and stressed the need to recommit ourselves to building a world of freedom and equality for all," Ban's spokesperson Martin Nesirky told PTI when asked to comment on the Supreme Court ruling.

In his message on the occasion of Human Rights Day, observed on December 10, Ban said the global body denounces all attacks on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) or intersex people.

"We oppose all arrests, imprisonments and discrimination they suffer. And we recommit ourselves to building a world of freedom and equality for all," the UN Secretary General said.

He said the key to success in promoting human rights is the political will of member states.

"It is states, in the first instance, that are obliged to protect human rights and prevent violations at a national level, and to stand up when other states fail to live up to their commitments," he said.

"This is not always easy, and over the past 20 years, we have seen genocide and many other appalling and large-scale violations of international human rights and humanitarian law," Ban added.

Various human rights groups have also denounced the ruling by the Supreme Court, saying the move to criminalise gay sex is unjust and "miscarriage of justice".

The American Jewish World Service (AJWS), a Jewish international human rights and development organisation, expressed deep disappointment with the decision of the Supreme Court to overturn a 2009 Delhi High Court ruling, creating a legal precedent to decriminalize homosexuality in India.

"The Supreme Court ruling...Is a miscarriage of justice," programme officer Javid Syed said.

Despite the ruling, AJWS would "not waver in its support of the struggle of our partners in India who have already won over the hearts and minds of so many people in support of LGBT rights," he said.

Syed said the important social acceptance that activists have won over the last four years would not be erased by the court ruling and expressed hope that human rights would ultimately triumph and values of equality enshrined in the Indian constitution would prevail.


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