Declaration by the High Representative Josep Borrell on behalf of the European Union on the occasion of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, 17 May 2020

On the occasion of the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the European Union pays tribute to human diversity in all its richness, and the right of every human person to be proud of who they are, to define their own identity and to love the person of their choice.

As the world is focused on efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, we remember and highlight the particular challenges faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons in many parts of the world. They often are confronted with stigma, discrimination and restrictions in access to health services due to discriminatory laws and negative social attitudes. For many LGBTI persons the lack of family or community support increases their vulnerability to violence, unemployment, poverty and homelessness. We welcome the statement of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on Targeted actions needed to protect LGBTI people amid pandemic, and underline the importance of working hand in hand with LGBTI communities when planning and implementing national pandemic strategies.

It is unacceptable that human rights continue to be violated and abused in all parts of the world, with no accountability, on the basis of perceived or actual sexual orientation or gender identity. The criminalisation of sexual orientation and non-recognition of trans- and intersex identities leads to stigma and marginalisation of LGBTI persons, multiplying the challenges they face to freely access health services. LGBTI persons are also victims of violence and abuse, as domestic violence spikes during the confinement. Now, more than ever, it is time for the international community to renew its commitments to combat all forms of violence, discrimination, hate speech and hate crimes against LGBTI persons on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity or any other grounds.

The EU is firm in its resolve to fight against impunity for human rights violations, discrimination and abuses against LGBTI persons worldwide. With the launch of the new LGBTI + Equality Strategy by the European Commission, the EU will advance progress in the promotion and protection of human rights of LGBTI persons. We will work with all our partners both inside and outside the EU, joining forces with international organisations, civil society and human rights defenders in defending the human rights of LGBTI persons and in promoting equality and respect for diversity. The EU and its Member States will abide by commitments under the EU Guidelines to Promote and Protect the Enjoyment of all Human Rights by LGBTI Persons and the EU Human Rights Guidelines on Non-discrimination in External Action.

The European Union recalls that all human rights are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated. This cannot be forgotten at this time of global crisis, and when returning to a state of normalcy. We undertake to ensure that our response upholds the dignity and human rights of all without discrimination of any kind and call on all governments around the world to do the same. No one should be left behind, and no human right ignored.