“There is this myth out there that human rights is a Western agenda, and some governments are very keen to propagate that myth.” Those were the words spoken by the United Nations Human Rights Chief, Andrew Gilmour at the Pride and Prejudice conference in London yesterday. “That narrative is out there, but my line is that we’re not trying to impose a gay agenda. What we do oppose is discrimination.”
The statement concerned certain nations resenting the United Nations supposed interference into their ways of living. Gilmour mention instances of ‘grotesque discrimination, in particular trip to Tajikistan in central Asia where authorities had “set up a register of suspected gay people that the police then used to go and blackmail. There’s extortion and beatings and it’s extremely unpleasant.”
Russia, already well known for its views on LGBT+ people, was mentioned as an example of a country which rankled against the West supposedly imposing “alien values on traditional Slavic cultures.”
Gilmour pointed out that certain big businesses needed to play a part in standing up for LGBT+ rights. Using Uganda, a country notorious for its hostility to LGBt+ people, as an example, he stated, “We had a meeting there. A lot of the world’s biggest companies are in Kampala, but not one company dared show up. I take on board that you’ve got to be careful and protect your staff, but there’s taking caution too far, frankly. There is a squeezing of civil society and NGOs that has made things much much harder. There has to be a more intelligent use of leverage, and the private sector [can do a lot] by showing in its own businesses that it doesn’t tolerate discrimination, and actually respects LGBT+ people.”
For more information on the United Nations and its UN Free And Equal global campaign against homophobia and transphobia, check out their website here.
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