Importance of equal treatment and protection for all LGBTQI+ people

Since 2004, the International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) on May 17 has reminded us that discrimination against LGBTQI+ persons is still frequent.

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Belgium continues to lead the way in the fight against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or expression and sexual characteristics. Our country prides itself on ever-evolving legislation, such as the law that allows adoption for same-sex couples, the law on equal access to medically assisted reproduction, anti-discrimination laws, but also the more recent transgender law. In addition, the brand new Federal Action Plan "A LGBTQI+ Friendly Belgium" envisages a systemic approach to increasing safety of LGBTQI+ persons and maximizing inclusiveness. The plan also includes important actions in the international domain.

In recent decades, the protection of LGBTQI+ persons has steadily expanded worldwide. Unfortunately, there is a recent trend of portraying equal rights for LGBTQI+ persons as a Western, pernicious and reprehensible phenomenon. Nothing could be further from the truth: the Yogyakarta Principles, drafted in 2006 by twenty-nine human rights specialists from around the world, argue that the International Human Rights Treaties (including the Anti-Torture Convention, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Covenant on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights), which have been almost universally ratified, are fully applicable to the situation of LGBTQI+ persons. States parties to these treaties therefore have an obligation to safeguard their human rights. The fight against discrimination against LGBTQI+ persons is thus a fight for equal rights.

IDAHOT's 2022 theme "Our Bodies, Our Lives, Our Rights" is consistent with this: rights for LGBTQI+ persons are not a matter of special, exclusive rights, but rather of universal human rights, including, among others, the right to dignity, the right to self-determination, the right to health care and the right to information.

Combating all forms of discrimination, including racism and anti-LGBTQI+ discrimination, is an important Belgian cross-cutting priority in human rights policy. Belgium will continue its international commitment to pursue equal treatment and protection for all LGBTQI+ persons, focusing on the following aspects: decriminalization and fight against discriminatory legislation and policies; promotion of equality and non-discrimination; attention to the fight against homophobic violence against LGBTIQ+ persons; support and protection of human rights defenders and activists working for equal rights for LGBTIQ+ persons; support for the concept of "Build Back Better", a more inclusive society in the context of recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.

After the Egmont Palace was lit up in the colors of the rainbow flag in honor of this day in 2021, this year it is the setting for a family photo with diplomats from countries that stand up for equal rights of LGBTQI+ persons. With representatives from nearly 50 countries from all 6 continents, this photo is a powerful signal of unity and determination in the fight for equal rights, without discrimination based on gender, sexual identity or sexual orientation.

You can follow the coverage of the Belgian embassies and diplomatic missions abroad on social media to see how this important day is celebrated around the world. #IDAHOT #IDAHOT2022 #loveislove #freeandequal #EU4LGBTIQ @BelgiumMFA.


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