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HRC30: Nordic statement, item 8: General debate

Human Rights Council, 30 Session

Mr. President,
I have the honor to speak on behalf of the Nordic countries; Iceland, Norway, Finland, Sweden and my own country, Denmark.
Throughout the history of humankind, taboos have thrived and caused the suffering of so many individuals. That all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, is all too often overshadowed by a false notion that some human beings are less worthy because of their sex, a disability, the color of their skin, their ethnic origin, religion, or sexual orientation or gender identity.
Fortunately, we also see progress. Taboos dissolve, the human being is revealed and her rights acknowledged. This Council and the work of the High Commissioner have contributed to this.

Mr. President,
Examples of long-lived taboos in many people´s hearts and minds concern crossing gender boundaries and our ability to love another person regardless of their gender. The High Commissioner’s latest report on discrimination and violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity paints a gloomy picture.

But the report also highlights best practices on how to counter violence and discrimination against LGBTI persons. It contains cross-regional examples of States having decriminalized consensual same-sex conduct, established specialized hate crime prosecution units, or produced new guidance materials and training for police, teachers, and other officials.  These are tools to attack taboos and ensure basic human rights for all individuals. All persons have equal rights.

There are no quick fixes. With so many other taboos, this one will be tackled step by step – by the leadership of political, religious and other public and private leaders. Sharing good practices and addressing the challenges we all face on this issue is the way forward. It will be of key importance to keep the issue on the agenda of the Human Rights Council.

You can count on the continued support of the Nordic countries on this matter.
I thank you for your attention.