IOM Marks International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia

Posted: 
05/17/16
Themes: 
Gender and Migration

Switzerland - Today, 17 May, marks the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT). This day is a reminder of the violence and discrimination experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people, including migrants, around the world.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” and secures under international human rights law, the protection of rights for all people, regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or “other status”. Yet the world continues to be a dangerous place for LGBTI people.

In 2016, some 75 states still have laws criminalizing same-sex activity, with punishment ranging from imprisonment to the death penalty. In numerous states, structural and societal discrimination is deeply entrenched, including in education, health care, employment, housing and families.

LGBTI people face numerous human rights abuses, such as exclusion, discrimination, corrective rape, damaging medical treatments, torture and murder. Those who speak out may experience retribution, including imprisonment and murder. In the workplace, LGBTI people face a wide range of challenges ranging from discrimination to unequal access to opportunities and legal protection.

Two of IOM’s fundamental principles are equality and non-discrimination.  We are committed to serving all beneficiaries and staff members with respect, regardless of their sex, gender, sexual orientation or gender identity.

While the world has made significant advances in promoting and protecting human rights, IOM believes we must work harder to strengthen protections for LGBTI people. Abuses against LGBTI people must end, and it is imperative we build a work environment with zero tolerance for homophobia, transphobia and biphobia.

IOM has been working hard to promote a free and equal workplace inside the organization. We have appointed an IOM LGBTI Focal Point to UN-GLOBE – the group representing LGBTI staff members of the UN system. We also recently released a comprehensive training package to help IOM and the wider humanitarian community better serve LGBTI migrants and staff members.

IDAHOT was created in 2004 to draw the attention of organizations, policymakers, opinion leaders, social movements, the public and the media to the violence and discrimination experienced by LGBTI people. It is now celebrated in more than 130 countries; 1,600 events were reported by 1,280 organizations in 2014.

The date May 17th was chosen to commemorate the World Health Organization’s decision in 1990 to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder.

To mark the day, IOM has released a video message from Director General William Lacy Swing. Watch the video here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6GBHkZfhKU

It has also launched an IDAHOT-themed social media campaign. For more details go to:

@IOM_LGBTI on Twitter and IOM LGBTI Migrant Equality on Facebook.

For more information please contact Jennifer Rumbach, Email: jrumbach@iom.int, Tel. +1.917.605.0516.

<none>