Delivered by H.E. Þórður Æ. Óskarsson, Deputy Permanent Representative of Iceland
New York, 26 October 2023
Interactive Dialogue with the Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
Statement on behalf of Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden.
I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic-Baltic countries: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden, and my own country, Iceland.
At the outset, we reiterate our unwavering support for the critical work of the Independent Expert and this important mandate.
It is crucial to continue to promote respect for, protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms of all LGBTI persons. We are fully committed to the fight against all forms of violence and multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and support the work of the UN in this regard.
We welcome the Independent Expert’s report addressing the impact of colonialism and decolonization on the emergence of sexual and gender-based violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
It is of great concern that the continued criminalization of consensual same-sex intimacy between adults and of gender diversity and expression not only violates the obligations of States under international law but also fuels stigma, legitimizes prejudices, and exposes individuals to institutional and domestic violence, giving rise to even further human rights abuses, injustices, and violations.
We agree with the Expert that decriminalization of same-sex consensual activity is part of the duty of States to address acts of discriminatory violence and abuse. Deprivation of human rights can never be justified by a person’s real or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression or sex characteristics.
Mr. Independent Expert,
There have been legal developments towards the decriminalization of same-sex intimacy which remains a work in progress.
As recommended in your report, we will continue to engage in international cooperation and partnerships to exchange best practices, expertise, and resources on addressing all forms of discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity. We will not stop raising our voices until we achieve full decriminalization.
In your view, what more can the international community do to speed up progress towards universal decriminalization?