Vienna, 25 February 2014 Press release

Kurz: "We must advocate the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersexed people worldwide"

Foreign Minister Kurz against homophobia and criminalisation of LGBTI people

Vienna, 25 February 2014 – "I am concerned about the increasing discrimination and even criminalisation of homosexual, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersexed (LGBTI) people in some states. Every society attaches great importance to its cultural values, but the fundamental human rights and dignity of man are unnegotiable", Austrian Foreign Minister Kurz said.

There are still more than 80 countries worldwide that have laws against homosexuality in place. Serious dismay was recently caused by a law that entered into force in Nigeria in January 2014 and punishes homosexual relationships with long-term imprisonment and has already resulted in numerous arrests. A similar law is about to enter into force in Uganda.

In June 2013, a law came into effect in Russia that makes the advocacy of rights of LGBTI people an offence; it prohibits demonstrations as well as NGO activities in this field. "Anti-homosexuality laws not only mean a life in fear for the people concerned or the denial of their fundamental rights, such as the freedom of opinion or assembly or the right to a private life, but they also promote prejudice among people and are counterproductive to a climate of social tolerance. As an ultimate consequence, such laws violate the duty of each nation to not only respect human rights but even actively protect them" Foreign Minister Kurz said.

"Respect of the universal human rights and tolerance are the foundation of a peaceful and stable society. Dialogue creates the necessary awareness for the concerns of LGBTI people. The guidelines for supporting LGBTI people's human rights that were adopted by the EU partners in 2013 provide important directions for joint and coherent action of the EU in this field", the Foreign Minister said. "I regret to say that homophobia is also relatively widespread in the EU. It is our responsibility to protect the rights of LGBTI people worldwide and I appeal to all of you to contribute to the protection of their rights."

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