Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Sexual orientation and gender identity at the UNHRC

Delivered in Plenary - 27th September 2011

Madam President

Human rights are universal and indivisible and apply to all equally, regardless of a personís sexual orientation or gender identity. The UN Human Rights Council, despite its significant shortcomings, has done some useful work in this area. Holding an open and respectful dialogue on sexual orientation and gender identity amongst UN Member States is indispensable in achieving a world where equality and non-discrimination against LGBT people is the international norm.

The safeguarding and promoting of the universality of human rights is a fundamental part of the EUís common values. Regrettably, on gay rights, these laudable principles are not yet fully upheld by the entire European Union. We still see unfortunately, although rarely, cases of discrimination against gay and transgender people in the European Union. Member States should also reaffirm their commitment to protect LGBT rights in the conduct of their foreign relations, both bilaterally with third countries Ė in particular in the Arab world and in parts of Africa where criminal sanctions are still widely applied, including, disgracefully, the death penalty in some cases Ė and also multilaterally in all international fora, including the United Nations.