IDAHOT 2017: Belgium emphasizes engagement in fight against homophobia and transphobia as host country for the 5th edition of the IDAHOT Forum


May 17 is the International Day against Homophobia and Transfobia (IDAHOT). Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders underlines that the fight against discrimination and respect for human rights of LGBTI persons remains a priority in Belgium’s foreign policy. On a bilateral, European and multilateral level, Belgium is strongly engaged on this  issue, as it was recently the case with the situation of homosexuals in Chechnya, and can be considered as a leading country. The efforts of Belgium at the national level are also noticeable. In 2016 IGLA Europe, the European umbrella organization for LGBTI organizations, ranked Belgium second in the top 3 countries actively working on setting new standards for LGBTI people.
Minister Reynders welcomes the fact that our country emphasizes its engagement as a host country for the fifth edition of the IDAHOT Forum this year (from 17 to 19 May in Brussels). The forum strongly supports the mainstreaming of human rights of LGBTI people. The minister particularly welcomes the participation of Vitit Muntharbhorn, the first independent expert of the United Nations on sexual orientation and gender identity. Last year Belgium advocated in the UN Human Rights Council for the creation of this mandate.
Discrimination, acts of hatred and violence based on sexual orientation and gender are unfortunately still widespread. For instance, same-sex relationships are considered to be a punishable offense in more than 70 countries and may even lead to the death penalty in some countries. This is unacceptable. Belgium has already expressed great concern about such serious violations of human rights and will continue to pursue worldwide respect for human rights of all persons, regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity.