BeLonG To participates in the first UN meeting on Homophobic Bullying

15/12/2011
Submitted by BeLonG To Youth Services

Over the course of the last week, BeLonG To Youth Services participated in the first ever UN level consultation on tackling homophobic bullying worldwide. The event culminated in the drafting of 'The Rio Statement', which was issued by the representatives of twenty five LGBTQ organisations present at the conference. Simultaneously, the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon issued a ground breaking statement calling on governments globally to combat homophobic bullying.

Speaking on his return from the Rio meeting, Michael Barron, Executive Director at BeLonG To Youth Services said "The Rio Statement on Homophobic Bullying and Education for All represents very important progress in our battle to end homophobic and transphobic bullying against LGBT young people throughout the world. As UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon states, this bullying represents a 'grave violation of human rights' and it is vital that all countries tackle this issue."

BeLonG To's work to end homophobic bullying in Ireland was identified as best practice at the Rio meeting and will be included in a United Nations toolkit which will be made available to governments and civil society organisations around the world who work to end what former President Mc Aleese referred to as the 'noxious apparatus of homophobia'. This follows from the recent endorsement of our work in this area from Thomas Hammarberg, Commissioner for Human Rights at the Council of Europe.

Mr. Barron continued "'It was a great privilege to represent BeLonG To and Ireland at this first global UN consultation on homophobic bullying. What is clear is that we are making very good progress in this area in Ireland. In particular I would like to commend the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, the Department of Education, and the HSE's National Office for Suicide Prevention for their progressive work in recent years. But this is no time to be complacent. Homophobic bullying is an issue of huge urgency and continues to have devastating effects, including school drop-out, drug use and suicide, on young people here in Ireland. In light of these important actions from the UN, we urge the government to reprioritise action to support LGBT young people. No young person should have their human rights and safety violated because of who they are."

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