Statement of the OAS LGBTI Core Group of Member States on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia 2020

On this 17th of May, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Mexico, the United States and Uruguay, member states of the OAS LGBTI Core Group, are proud to join other governments and civil society organizations around the world, to celebrate the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOTB). This day is an opportunity to remember and reiterate that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, and that the strengthening of alliances and partnerships is essential to ensure the security of individuals, discourage violence and address discrimination.

Since May 17, 2004, the day on which IDAHOTB was first celebrated, great progress is evident in the Americas. In particular, we are proud to see that in the past years several countries in this hemisphere have continued to take concrete measures to eliminate discrimination and violence against LGBTI persons. Education, awareness and dialogue have effectively allowed countries to address stereotypes and prejudice against LGBTI persons. We encourage all the countries of the hemisphere to continue with these efforts.

However, as has been noted by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, LGBTI persons are still, too often, victims of discrimination and violent hate crimes based on their sexual orientation, identity or gender expression, or sexual characteristics. They are often murdered, arbitrarily arrested and subjected to extreme violence motivated by hatred. In addition, in some countries of the Americas, consented adult persons same-sex activity remains a crime.

Furthermore, we share the concern about the vulnerability of LGBTI persons in the context of the COVID19 pandemic, due to the historical discrimination and exclusion they suffer.

We understand and respect that countries are implementing strategies to guarantee the rights of LGBTI persons, taking into consideration that human rights are universal and indivisible, and that these include the human rights of LGBTI persons.

We believe that May 17 is a day in which all the member states can unite and continue our dialogue, in the joint framework with the organs of the OAS for the promotion and protection of human rights, and in collaboration with civil society organizations, to help end discrimination and violence against LGBTI persons.

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