International Humanist and Ethical Union
46th Session of the UN Human Rights Council (22 February – 19 March 2021)
General Debate Item 8
Thank you Madame President,
The Vienna Declaration emphasizes the responsibilities of all States to respect human rights for all, without distinction.
Yet, nearly 28 years later 42 countries have legal barriers to freedom of association and expression around sexual and gender diversity issues.
These barriers take a variety of forms, including censorship, language around propaganda, prosecution of LGBTI symbols, and the criminalisation of offences against morality and religion.
For instance, in Turkey, four students were arrested in January over a piece of artwork that reportedly combined LGBTI symbols with an image of an Islamic site. The Interior Minister described them as perverts.
In Tunisia, security forces reportedly target LGBTI activists at protests with arbitrary arrests, physical and verbal assaults, and refusing legal counsel. And, this month, a prominent LGBTI rights activist was sentenced to six months in prison for shouting outside a police station after officers refused to register her harassment complaint.
In Ghana, lawmakers are currently looking to pass a bill criminalizing all forms of advocacy on LGBTI issues. LGBT Rights Ghana, a non-profit human rights organization operating a community center in Accra was forced to close its doors after conservative and religious opponents claimed it ran counter to “family values.”
The right to free expression and to association belongs to all, without distinction. We call on the aforementioned countries to recognise this and to cease their persecution of LGBTI activists.
I make this statement in memory of David Polfliet, who was murdered in a homophobic hate crime in Belgium earlier this month.
 https://www.hrw.org/topic/lgbt-rights, The BBC translated the word “sapkini,” as “deviant“ https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-55872759
 https://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/Ghana-should-consider-legislation-against-LGBT-advocacy-Oppong-Nkrumah-1183735, https://www.myjoyonline.com/lgbtqi-is-criminal-non-negotiable-per-our-laws-adwoa-safo/
'The right to free expression, association and assembly of LGBTI+ Rights Activists', Humanists International