No time for complacency!
ILGA-Europe statement on the occasion of the Human Rights Day 2013.
Sixty-five years ago today, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly, and with it, the promise of a world fully recognising that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”.
Unfortunately, the world has still a long way to go in order to fulfil this promise. Human rights abuses, including violations against lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people in Europe and around the world, are still systematic, and often committed by the countries which have signed the Declaration:
- Trans people are still being murdered only because of their gender identity
- Intersex people are still being subjected to unnecessary, undignified medical intervention to ‘normalise’ their gender
- Some European countries deprive LGBTI people from their very basic democratic right to free assembly, expressions and association
Europe is currently witnessing worrying trends towards social conservatism, populism, religious extremism which puts human rights of all in danger. As a result, we already witnessing when human rights issues are put to majority votes in referenda, personal beliefs are being used to infringe on the rights of others.
In a few weeks’ time ILGA-Europe will launch its European elections 2014 campaign. This is our chance to act and to use time wisely. We need to ensure Europe remains committed to human rights for all: not just in statements and declaration, but in actions. Only by actively participating in the election, by testing, challenging and working with the candidates we can ensure human rights stay strong on the EU agenda.
This Human Rights’ Day is a great reminder that the time to stand up for human rights and to act is now. In the words of Nelson Mandela, “We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.”