Speech

UNGA: Statement on the Decriminalization of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

 

Statement of the Prime Minister at the Side Event at the UNGA on the decriminalization of Sexual orientation and gender identity.

Dear friends, 
 
Every day people face discrimination because of whom they love and what their gender identity is. 
 
In close to 80 countries their relations are criminalized and in a handful countries, you still risk the death penalty for being gay. 
 
We cannot expect that deeply embedded attitudes, beliefs, and traditions are overturned overnight. 
 
But we should expect that all States live up to the principles outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 
 
I say this as a proud Prime Minister of a country where homosexuality has never figured in penal law. In 2003, Belgium legalized same-sex marriage, as the second country in the world. And ever since, we’ve made progress in strengthening LGBTIQ rights. 
 
We’ve walked a long way in favour of dignity and respect for all. But as long as we see hatred and discrimination, we must speak out, take action and step up our efforts. For love has no gender.