Remarks of Iceland at UN LGBTI Core Group special event to mark IDAHOBIT
Special event of the UN LGBTI Core Group to mark IDAHOBIT
18 May 2020 - Remarks by Jörundur Valtýsson, Permanent Representative of Iceland to the UN
Thank you Jessica. Dear colleagues,
I am so pleased to take the floor on behalf of Iceland for the first time as a member of the LGBTI Core Group. Iceland joined the group as a member last week, along with Nepal, and we look forward to working with all of you.
Today we mark the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia and Transphobia. This is a day to remember LGBTI individuals around the world who face serious human rights violations every day.
Human rights are an integral part of Iceland’s foreign policy and we will continue to work on advancing and advocating for the rights of LGBTI individuals. In this respect, we hope to contribute to the work of the Core Group in a meaningful way and Iceland has already been active within the Equal Rights Coalition and supported the United Nations Free and Equal campaign.
Also, last year, during our term on the Human Rights Council, LGBTI rights featured prominently on our agenda. This included continued support for the mandate of the Independent Expert on Protection against Violence and Discrimination based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. I look forward to hearing you remarks here today, Mr. Victor Madrigal-Borloz.
Domestically, the Government of Iceland has focused on legal reforms for LGBTI individuals, most recently with the 2019 law on Gender Self-Determination, which notably strengthens the rights of trans and intersex people. Iceland currently tops the OECD index on LGBTI social acceptance and has been moving up the list on the Europe Rainbow Index. We do recognize, however, that work remains to be done.
We look forward to today’s discussions on the impact of COVID-19 on LGBTI people - A group that is disproportionally hit by the pandemic. My delegation is committed to working with the Core Group, and the wider UN membership, in advancing LGBTI rights. Human rights are universal, and LGBTI rights are human rights. No exceptions. Happy IDAHOBIT Day.