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UN LGBTI Core Group High Level Event - Leaving No One Behind: Decriminalization of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity


UN LGBTI Core Group High Level Event 

"Leaving No One Behind: Decriminalization of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity"

address given by Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation


Let me first say how happy I am to be able to address this side-event today, organized by the UN LGBTI Core Group. Iceland is a proud member of the Group and is fully committed to its values, mission and vision.


The Government of Iceland remains strongly committed to promote the human rights and non-discrimination of LGBTI individuals. At home, we continue to make conscious improvements, as can be seen by recent legislative reforms on gender autonomy and equal treatment in the labour market.


Abroad, human rights remain a cornerstone of Iceland’s foreign policy and international development cooperation. To build the peaceful, just and inclusive societies envisioned in the 2030 Agenda, we must safeguard the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all people.


In this decade of action and delivery for the SDGs, we must fight for a universal decriminalization of consensual same sex conduct and the full respect of the rights of LGBTI individuals. This is a topic that has been a key priority for Iceland, also during our term in the Human Rights Council. 


The fact that around seventy UN Member States have laws on their books that criminalize sexual orientation and gender identity is unacceptable and tragic beyond words. We must devote our full attention – together and through joint efforts – to not only change legislation but also influence the minds of political leaders, government officials and the public. That way we will gradually see a much-needed change in attitudes and opinions.


To that end, the UN LGBTI Core Group will continue to play a key role.

Thank you for allowing me to be with you today.


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