Botswana Government Deports Pastor Anderson

Press Statement

To: All Media Houses

From: The Lesbians Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana – LEGABIBO

Date: 20 September 2016

RE: DEPORTATION OF PASTOR STEVEN ANDERSON

The Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO) accompanied by Reverend Dumi Mmualefe on the 15th of September 2016 submitted a petition signed by 2 317 people to the Minister of Labour and Home Affairs, Hon. Edwin Batshu requesting that Pastor Steven Anderson and his associate, Garret Kirchway not be allowed into Botswana to start a church in the country.

  1. The Honourable Minister Batshu gave us audience and accepted the contents of the petition.

 

  1. The Minister and his delegation informed us that they were aware of Pastor Anderson’s visit to Botswana.

 

  1. Batshu said that as an American citizen, Pastor Anderson does not require a VISA to enter Botswana but because of his history, the Pastor would be put on a VISA lease to ensure that Immigration officials are aware of his presence.

 

  1. He also assured us that measures would be put in place to ensure that Anderson’s movements and his teachings do not infringe existing laws that prohibit hate, discrimination and incitement of violence.

However, a few hours after the meeting, we learned that Pastor Anderson had arrived in the country. We alerted the Ministry of this new development and collaboratively monitored the location of his church, teachings, social media and the impact his messaging had on the people he reached.

On the 19th of September we received a report from an individual who attended his church service that he had been assaulted by the Pastor, who called him “a fag, a homosexual and with a mouth full of AIDS” and was forcefully and violently dragged out of the church, an incident that the Pastor later admitted on radio.

On the 20th September 2016 from 0600hrs to 0900hrs, Caine Youngman, Reverend Mampane and the Pastor went live on radio, on Breakfast with Reg on GABZ FM, to dialogue on his visit to Botswana, his supposed mission to “win souls” and rid our country of sin. During the interview, the Pastor:

  1. Stated that he has diagnosed that the biggest sin in Botswana is alcoholism and that our Pastors in Botswana have softened, calling them “a bunch of sissies” and do not preach against such ills.
  2. Condemned versions of the bible that are not King James version calling them “junk”.
  3. Publicly called Caine Youngman, LEGABIBO Advocacy Officer “a paedophile, a liar, he has sex with little boys and strangers and if you have not done it yet, you will do it in future”.
  4. Stated that homosexual persons cannot be saved and that our government should kill all homosexual persons.

Following these utterance, Pastor Anderson was escorted by Immigration officials out of the premises and we later learned that he had been declared a prohibited immigrant by the Botswana Government.

LEGABIBO is outraged by the insults hurled at Caine Youngman and the LGBT community in Botswana, and wish we could have prevented this from happening from the outset. We are also happy that the Government of Botswana took necessary action and deported the Pastor and in the process defended its citizens. We applaud the people of Botswana who have stood with us to protect, defend and promote human rights in our country.

For more information, contact LEGABIBO on +267 316 74 25

Steve

 

2016 International Day of Democracy- “Democracy and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”.

Press Statement
2016 International Day of Democracy- “Democracy and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”.
To: All Media Houses
From: The Lesbians Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana – LEGABIBO
Date: 13th August 2016

September 15th has been declared the International Day of Democracy. This year’s theme is “Democracy and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, acknowledging the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by the United Nations, of which Botswana is a part of. The 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda lays out a plan to be carried out over 15 years aimed at addressing extreme poverty, fighting inequality and injustices, and protecting the planet.
Core to the implementation process of the 2030 Agenda is emphasis on inclusion and involvement of the State, civil society and citizens. These are crucial democratic ideals and in line with the way the agenda was developed. This year’s theme is dedicated to Goal number 16 which aims to “Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels”. Its targets include reducing all forms of violence, promoting the rule of law and justice for all, developing effective institutions, participation in decision making at all levels and legal identity for all.
The LGBT community in Botswana would like to recognise the relevance of Goal 16 to our experiences of democracy and celebrate the positive efforts the Botswana Government has made at the early stages by legally recognising LEGABIBO as an LGBTI organisation in April 2016, enabling the LGBT community to exercise their democratic right to approach the courts and challenge prejudices and inequalities. The registration of LEGABIBO as a society the represents and advocates for the human rights of LGBT manifests freedom of association, expression and assembly.
A registered LEGABIBO affirms that Botswana is ready to include LGBTI in democratic and civil society spaces, which were often inaccessible without legal recognition. On behalf of LGBTI, LEGABIBO is now able to respond to inequalities and injustices; adress homophobic undertones that seek to execerbate gender inequalities and violence against LGBTI. LEGABIBO is also able to support public health by adressing inequalities in accessing health services which are perpetuated by stigma and discrimination in
health care facilities and the exclusion of LGBT in health policies and laws. Registration of LEGABIBO allows the LGBT movement to speak on behalf of, defend and protect the democratic rights of LGBTI who face discrimination.
In commemoration of the 2016 International Day of Democracy – September 15th, LEGABIBO plans to hand over the petition to the Minister of Labour and Home Affairs to lobby for the Minister to protect citizens against hatred, violence, and promote human rights and dignity by preventing Reverend Steven Anderson and his followers from spreading hatred against an already marginalised group.

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Contact LEGABIBO on:
T +267 316 74 25
F +267 316 74 65
Social media: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube Botswana, Instagram

Now Botswana fights back against gay hate pastor Steven Anderson

LGBTI activists in Botswana have joined the fight to keep gay hate pastor Steven Anderson out of Africa.

Pastor Steven L Anderson

Anderson is set to visit Johannesburg for a one day missionary excursion on 18 September after which he plans to go to Botswana for a week to set up a branch of his extremist Arizona church.

South African activists have waged a spirited campaign against his visit, lobbying government to not allow him into the country and convincing the venues where he planned to stay, meet and preach to deny him access.

LGBT groups in Botswana have now embarked on their own campaign, with the launch of petition that aims to stop Anderson from “coming to Botswana to preach hate”.

They have accused him of not only promoting the murder of gay people but also preaching that women are second class citizens who should be subservient to men.

The petition urges the government of Botswana to deny him entry into the country, and calls for church leader “to firmly condemn religious fanatics who use the Bible as a weapon to kill, spread hatred and oppress women”.

The groups further call on the women’s movement “to assert their stance in the protection of women’s rights and their democratic right to equality, education and employment”.

Anderson has described AIDs as “the judgement of God” and stated that executing gay people would free the world from the epidemic.

Most recently, Anderson praised the Orlando massacre as “good news” because “there’s 50 less paedophiles in this world”.

The petition points out that this makes him a de facto supporter of terrorism as the government of Botswana condemned the massacre as an “…unprecedented terrorist attack”.

The preacher also believes that women should be “home keepers and not office keepers” and should not be allowed to vote.

“These assertions erase the achievements that the women’s movement in Botswana has made over the years,” say the LGBT groups.

Anderson seems determined to become the latest member in a nefarious club of American evangelists who in recent years have propagated their anti-LGBT views and lies in Africa, stirring up hatred and inspiring the enactment of repressive laws.

To show your support against Anderson’s African safari, sign the petition here

Article first published in Mambo.Online

Petition to Prevent Hate Preacher Steven Anderson from setting up church in Botswana.

Petition to Reject Pastor Anderson and Garret Kirchway from entering Botswana to set up church.

The Faithful Word Baptist Church which originates from Arizona, United States led by Pastor Seven Anderson (pictured below) assisted by evangelist Garret Kirchway is going to launch its ministry on the 25th September 2016 and afterwards setting up a church in Gaborone, Botswana.

Pastor Anderson is infamous of 4 things:

  1. In April 2016, Steven Anderson praised the mass shooting of 49 people in Orlando, Florida USA, stating that there are “50 less pedophiles in the world”. winningdemocrates.com/watch-conservative-christian-pastor-calls-for-executing-more-ga-people-after-orlando-mass-shooting/
  1. Pastor Steven Anderson has also attacked women asserting that women should not: work, lead in church; be independent; vote; read books of their choice and dress how they want, emphasizing that “men shouldn’t be under the tyranny of women”. Link at youtube.com/watch?v=nFaoOKk16lQ
  1. In his 2014 sermon, Steven Anderson called for the “execution of gay people by stoning” before Christmas Day.
  1. Steven Anderson also spoke strongly against the use of prescription medication, suggesting that it is wrong and referring to Medical Doctors as sorcerers (Baloi).

Steve

These are the messages that Pastor Anderson is bringing to Botswana. He approves of terrorism, the action that the Government of Botswana condemned in response to the Orlando Massacre calling the action “…unprecedented terrorist attack”. Clearly the Pastor has no respect for humanity and his messages go against our democratic ideals that promote Botho; peace, respect for humanity, protection from discrimination and inhumane treatment. Pastor Anderson is a threat to these cherished ideals.

Pastor Anderson’s messages attack and demean women, seeing women as second class citizens, unequal to men, discrediting them as holistic beings who are workers, academics and leaders. The Pastor refers to women as “home keepers and not office keepers” and sees women who work as having loose morals. These assertions erase the achievements that the women’s movement in Botswana has made over the years.

By calling for the killing of gay people, Pastor Andersons’ messages are homophobic and condone violence against fellow human beings and a group that is already marginalized.

In addition, Pastor Anderson’s rejection of modern medicine is likely to discourage people from accessing health services. In Botswana, in particular we are already struggling with adherence to ART, therefore this messaging will negatively impact on the efforts already made by Government and CSO to ensure provision and access to HIV treatment.

Following this, the Key Population Coalition in Botswana – (KPC – comprising LEGABIBO, BONELA, Rainbow Identity Association, Men for Health and Gender Justice, Pilot Matambo Center for Men’s Health) – are calling on the Government of Botswana, Civil Society, Human Rights Lawyers, Religious communities and Batswana to protect, promote and defend human rights by rejecting the divisive and violent teachings of Pastor Steven Anderson and denying him entry into Botswana.

We specifically call upon the Church leadership to firmly condemn religious fanatics who use the Bible as a weapon to kill, spread hatred and oppress women.  We further call on the women’s movement to assert their stance in the protection of women’s rights and their democratic right to equality, education and employment.

We ask individuals, organizations and civic leaders to sign this petition as agreement that Pastor Anderson and his protégé Garret Kirchway should not be allowed to come into Botswana to spread hatred, homophobia, violence and sexism.

Sign  here to help stop Pastor Anderson from setting up church in Botswana.

 

 

 

Towards an LGBTQ Africa

On Anti-Homophobia Day, Tashwill Esterhuizen examines the state of rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people on the African continent and argues that civil society can play a more meaningful role in changing governments’ conservative, sometimes oppressive, approach to the LGBT community.

It has been nearly three years since a young lesbian lady, Duduzile Zozo (26), a victim of “corrective rape”, was brutally murdered a mere 40 feet from her home in a neighbour’s yard in Gauteng’s East Rand.  Quite recently, community members in Malawi reportedly forced their way into the home of two men and ransacked it, because they suspected them of committing same-sex sexual practices. Meanwhile in Zambia, a young transgender woman was arrested for “impersonating” a woman.

These acts of violence and discrimination are merely some examples illustrating the lived reality of many gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people throughout Africa. These men and women remain vulnerable to prejudice, homophobia, persecution and discrimination simply on the basis of their real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity.

Regrettably several African countries continue to criminalise intimacy between adult men and woman who love, care and are attracted to people of the same sex. While these criminal provisions do not extend to criminalising LGBT persons themselves or “homosexuality”, for that matter, the existence of these criminal provisions nevertheless perpetuate and promote stereotypes, increasing the vulnerability of the LGBT community.

Many African states justify the continued existence of the provisions that criminalise same-sex sexual intimacy on the premise that gay sexual expression is alien to their culture as it simply does not conform to the moral views of a particular section of society. These and similar sentiments show a lack of understanding, appreciation, respect and tolerance towards sexual diversity and expression and should be rejected outright.

LGBT persons form part of the rich diversity of any society. Any form of opinion or culture which degrades, humiliates and devalues gay men and lesbian women, purely because of their sexual expression, can never be a legitimate justification for the violation of their human dignity and privacy. As South African Constitutional Court Judge Laurie Ackermann, very eloquently held in National Coalition for Gay and Lesbian Equality and Another V Minister of Justice and Others, the “enforcement of the private morals views of a section of community, which are based to a large extent on nothing more than prejudice, cannot qualify as a legitimate…purpose” to criminalise sexual intimacy between consenting adults.

Unfortunately, instead of taking measures to change social attitudes and to educate the public about issues such as tolerance towards sexual diversity, criminal provisions often form the basis upon which states deny LGBT activists the right to freely associate with other like-minded individuals and form organisations that protect their interests and advocate for the rights and aspirations of the LGBT community.

For several years LGBT activists in Botswana were denied their right to freely associate and form their organisation, Lesbians, Gays, and Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO) aimed at promoting the interests of the LGBT community.  It was through courage, persistence and the continuous assertion of their rights that on April 29, 2016, LEGABIBO was registered as the first organisation to publicly advocate for the rights of LGBT persons in Botswana.

The registration came after the Botswana Court of Appeal found that the government’s refusal for several years to register LEGABIBO was unlawful and violated the activists’ right to freely associate and participate in the democracy. It does not matter that the views of the organisation are unpopular or unacceptable amongst the majority.

It is worth noting that the Court of Appeal rejected the government of Botswana’s contention that registering LEGABIBO would disturb public peace and is contrary to public morality. In fact, and quite remarkably, the Court of Appeal recognized that Botswana is a “compassionate, just and caring nation” and that “members of the gay, lesbian and transgender community, although no doubt a small minority, and unacceptable to some on religious or other grounds, form part of the rich diversity of any nation and are fully entitled in Botswana, as in any other progressive state, to the constitutional protection of their dignity”.

The Court also found that there is a more tolerant and compassionate attitude towards previously taboo subjects (such as LGBT rights) and that attitudes in Botswana have somewhat softened towards LGBT rights.  Though public opinion should not form a basis upon which to deprive persons of their fundamental rights, it nevertheless indicates there has been a shift in societal attitudes towards LGBT rights. Importantly, the Botswana Court of Appeal’s decision is an important step towards further full recognition of LGBT rights throughout Africa. Moreover, it creates a meaningful space within which government and civil society can build towards acceptance of sexual diversity and decriminalisation of same-sex sexual intimacy.

While acknowledging that in every democratic society there will be dissenting views expressed by individuals or groups, which most often are nothing more than prejudice, and lack of understanding for diversity. Instead of conforming to and upholding prejudice, government and all members of society have a duty to take measures to “transform” those views and educate society in order to align it with the values of the constitution and international human rights instruments.

In particular, international and regional instruments oblige States to create a culture of understanding human rights within society. This includes respecting the rights of LGBT persons. In fact, both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Charter place an obligation and duty on states to ensure, through teaching and education, the promotion and respect for rights and freedoms. It also demands that States see to it that these freedoms and rights, as well as the corresponding obligations, and duties are understood by citizens.

Instead of criminalising gay and lesbian sexual expression, and claiming that it is repugnant and contrary to public morality, African states should take active and progressive steps to educate every segment of society about their constitutional and fundamental rights. It is important for people to realise that these rights are universal and apply to all citizens regardless of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. The Botswana Court of Appeal correctly observed that that “fundamental freedoms are enjoyed by every class of society, the rich, the poor, the disadvantaged, and even criminals and social outcasts…and to deny any person their humanity is to deny such a person their human dignity”.

Civil society and organisations such as LEGABIBO could play a crucial role in assisting African governments to foster a culture that protects human rights.  Indeed, civil society, especially those representing the interests of the LGBT community, can be an important ally and partner to assist African States in carrying out intensive sensitisation campaigns and education on LGBT and other human rights issues. By denying LGBT organisations registration and seeing civil society as an adversary, African governments are missing out on a crucial opportunity for collaboration and the chance to create an inclusive society. This kind of society encourages a culture of tolerance and respect for diversity while simultaneously upholding the obligations contained in regional and international instruments.

* Esterhuizen is a lawyer at the Southern African Litigation Centre which won LEGABIBO’s case in the Botswana Court of Appeal

Main Photo: Lawyers and members of LEGABIBO outside the Botswana Court of Appeal after their victory earlier this year.

This article was first published in The Con

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Kenya Could Become the Next Country in Africa to Legalize Homosexuality

By Anna Dubuis

In a country where gay sex is punishable by up to 14 years in prison and where attacks on the LGBT community occur frequently, a solitary rainbow flag flapping in the wind just a stone’s throw from the president’s official residence in Nairobi serves as a small but symbolic mark of rebellion.

Inside the building flying the flag, one of Kenya’s leading LGBT rights organizations, the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC), is working on a case currently filed in the country’s high court that could remove criminal punishment for adults who engage in homosexual activity altogether.

“Those laws degrade the inherent dignity of affected individuals by outlawing their most private and intimate means of self-expression,” the petition states.

It is the first time that anyone has directly challenged the ban, with lawyer and NGLHRC leader Eric Gitari saying he closed the office after filing the case over fears of a backlash from members of the public, but returned ten days later to find no threats or violence had taken place.

“We wanted to monitor the public reaction, and not put our staff at risk, but the reaction has not been as expected. We thought there would be backlash but there has been none,” he said.

The news barely made headlines in local media, and the social media reaction has been negligible. Next month, proceedings in the High Court will begin, though the appeals process means it could take up to five years for an outcome.

Kenya is one of 34 African nations where homosexual activity is illegal, with some countries punishing it with life imprisonment or even death. But Gitari hopes his country could soon follow in the footsteps of Mozambique and São Tomé and Príncipe, which have decriminalized homosexuality in recent years.

Related: Gambian President Says He Will Slit Gay Men’s Throats in Public Speech

The case brought by NGLHRC revolves around a challenge to Section 162 of Kenya’s penal code — a piece of legislation introduced in the 19th century during British colonial rule in East Africa. Under the heading “unnatural offenses,” it condemns anyone who has “carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature.”

According to the Kenyan government, 595 cases were prosecuted under Section 162 between 2010 and 2014, though Gitari and his team found that most of them were cases of bestiality and rape — crimes currently seen as comparable to consensual gay sex in the eyes of the law.

In reality, Gitari says, the law is rarely enforced against homosexual activity, with only one person convicted since 2011. But activists say the law still provides legitimacy to discrimination in a society in which 90 percent of people oppose homosexuality, according to a 2013 survey by the Pew Research Center.

Gitari himself was outed as one of Kenya’s “top gays” on the front cover of a national newspaper in 2015, while in February last year two of his clients were subjected to anal examinations and HIV tests at the hands of police, after being accused of homosexual activity under Section 162.

It was the first case of forced anal testing that Gitari had heard of, but he knows of other cases in which men have been saved from the humiliating procedure at the last minute after doctors refused to carry it out. Meanwhile, the media attention surrounding the case resulted in mob attacks on suspected gay men in some parts of the country, forcing dozens of people from the LGBT community to flee their homes.

This week a court heard a petition from the two men challenging the use of anal exams, the outcome of which is expected in the coming months.

It was also due to Section 162 that Gitari’s application to officially register the NGLHRC as an NGO was rejected in 2013 on the basis he was seeking to promote illegal behavior. The High Court overruled the decision, but government regulator the NGO Coordination Board then appealed — a challenge Gitari is still battling against.

But the registration process has already yielded one victory, after the High Court ruled that someone’s sexual orientation was protected under the constitution — meaning the right to privacy, dignity, and equality that appear in the constitution’s bill of rights could not be limited to people of a particular sexual orientation.

Nevertheless, the ongoing criminalization of homosexuality leaves LGBT people ostracized and vulnerable to violence and blackmail.

“Young men have sex with older men for financial gain, and then cry rape if they don’t get the money they demand,” Gitari says. “We provide legal aid for so many blackmail cases like this. When people can’t get intimacy they will do things that are not safe.”

Related: Activists Ask Pope to ‘Help Us Cure One of the Worst Diseases in Africa: Homophobia’

Meanwhile, on top of the danger from homophobic attacks, Gitari says the ongoing illegality of homosexuality contributes to an ongoing problem Kenya’s LGBT community has with suicide. Gitari says he knows numerous people who have committed suicide, and even considered it himself.

“It is something that everyone who is gay goes through in this country. I thought about killing myself when I was young,” he said. “That hopelessness, without anywhere where people can meet, that’s what’s killing people and the source of that is the law.”

According to Gitari, the country’s capital city provides something of a welcome haven of greater acceptance to the LGBT community — although problems persist even there.

“Nairobi allows us to be anonymous. Everyone minds their own business,” he says. “There have been cases of rape and violence and physical assault, but the fact that it is not systematic widespread shows it is not comparable to our neighbors, like Uganda.”

It was in Nairobi that a pro-gay music video was filmed earlier this year, a remix of Macklemore’s 2012 hit Same Love.

When it appeared on YouTube, the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) tried to make Google take it down, with KFCB Chief Executive Ezekiel Mutua claiming the content threatened to turn people into “Sodom and Gomorrah.” While Google refused to remove the video, it agreed to post a warning for Kenyan viewers flagging it as “potentially inappropriate.” The makers of the video added a line to its description warning “This video contains imagery and a message that may be unnecessarily offensive to some.”

But in tweeting its outrage, along with a link to the offending video, the KFCB inadvertently gave it a massive boost, helping to take the video from a couple of hundred views to over a quarter of a million.

 

While the song has been upheld as a success for the gay rights movement in Kenya, reactionary comments on the YouTube page indicate the battle still has a long way to go.

The abuse also made its way to one of the actors who starred in the video, who has not come out to his family and friends, and says he was inundated with abusive messages and threats of violence on his phone and social media.

“I blocked the numbers and changed my privacy settings. They were really disturbing me,” he told VICE News, requesting to remain anonymous. “Sometimes I do fear walking around. I’m pretty scared.”

But Gitari believes that if the law is changed, societal attitudes will follow, and he thinks the political will is there — though as recent homophobic comments from Deputy President William Ruto highlighted, staunch opposition to change also remains.

Related: ICC Drops Crimes Against Humanity Case Against Kenyan Deputy Vice President Ruto

“The law is a big shackle. By removing it people will understand homosexuals are not criminals,” he said, adding that the government is extremely keen to promote Kenya as a good place for business and studies have shown that homosexuality laws act as a barrier.

“There is a lot of political will. We have seen consistency by the political class to refrain from legal matters when it comes to human rights,” he said.

That will has already been demonstrated through the country’s courts, following the landmark decision in 2014 to allow Kenyan transgender rights activist Audrey Mbugua to change her gender on her school records.

“Kenya could be a regional leader in gay rights, it’s an exciting time” said Gitari.

Neela Ghoshal, LGBT researcher at Human Rights Watch, agrees that Kenya could be on the brink of taking a major step that would reverberate through the continent, with gay sex punishable by life in prison in the likes of Uganda, Zambia, and Sierra Leone, and carrying a death sentence in Sudan, Mauritania, and northern Nigeria.

Currently South Africa is the only major African economy to have made serious progress on the issue of LGBT rights, after becoming the fifth country in the world and first in the Southern Hemisphere to legalize same-sex marriage in 2006.

“There is a real sense of momentum,” said Ghoshal of the legal challenge lodged by NGLHRC. “Other countries are certainly watching this court case.”

But Ghoshal warned that the path would not be smooth. “Ultimately, Kenya is a political beast, and progress can sometimes be derailed in the wink of an eye.”

NOTE: This article was first published in Vice News.

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Declaration by the High Representative, Federica Mogherini, on behalf of the European Union on the occasion of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia And Biphobia, 17 May 2016

Declaration by High Representative, Federica Mogherini, on behalf of the European Union on the occasion of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia And Biphobia, 17 May 2016

 On the occasion of the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the EU reiterates its strong commitment to the equality and dignity of all human beings irrespective of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

Despite recent progress around the world, almost 80 jurisdictions still criminalise same-sex relations. In many places discrimination and violence against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex persons is a daily occurrence. The EU repeats its call to all Governments around the world to abide by their international human rights commitments, to repudiate intolerance and to promote equality as enshrined in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and other instruments.

On this day, the EU also wishes to pay homage to the courageous advocacy efforts carried out by human rights defenders, activists, media journalists, and civil society organisations to address the violations faced by LGBTI persons. Their work has been crucial every step of the way in putting these issues on the table, documenting abuses and advocating for the effective protection of fundamental human rights.

In line with the EU Guidelines on the rights of LGBTI persons and the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy, we will continue to work with all partners to advance the human rights of all around the world.

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