Offentliggjort den 17. august 2021 / Published on 17 August 2021
Under-Secretary-Generals, Minister, Activists and Excellencies, dear guests,
In poetry and literature, in music, in theatre, in film in arts, in design - love has always been one of the greatest sources of inspiration. Love – or lack thereof - has led to wars, to the creation of alliances and has determined destinies since …. well, the beginning. And why? Because love in all its shapes and forms is what brings meaning to our lives.
Love is fundamental to human life and happiness; to human relations, to compassion and co-existence; to who we are, how we choose to live our lives and with whom we choose to live them.
You might be asking yourself, what on earth has all this talk of love got to do with a Human Rights conference. Well … the way I see it, human rights are another word for compassion and humanity …. which you could say is love, in one of its many shapes and forms.
Today, as we are streaming from UN City in Copenhagen, let us just for a moment remind ourselves that the United Nations was created to prevent the atrocities of the Second World War from ever happening again. Sadly, tragedies continue to occur, as the one the world is painfully witnessing in Afghanistan.
Today’s conference is about preventing the persecution of people for what they believe in, for their ethnicity or for whom they love.
Already at the first session of the United Nations General Assembly in 1946, world leaders discussed a document to secure the rights of every individual everywhere. This evolved into the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted in 1948.
From captivity and oppression rose the recognition that; “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”
Human rights are universal and fundamental to every human life. The original intent is clear, it is inclusive of all persons and to prevent discrimination in any way. Human rights do not distinguish.
But that assertion, for far too many around the world does not hold true. Even though we write 2021, too many LGBTI+ people continue to be victims of hatred, violence, discrimination, bullying and ill-treatment. And this we cannot and must not accept.
Sexual rights are some of the most intimate and fundamental of human rights and are therefore at the core of human dignity and human development.
They encapsule rights to make informed decisions about the most basic aspects of one’s life – one’s body, sexuality, health and relationships …… and who we love and choose to live with.
Securing human rights also concerns working to end prejudice and stigmatizations of vulnerable people and groups.
Human rights are not secured by legal rights alone. If rights are to have real meaning, they must live and breathe. The thoughts and ideas behind them must be felt, understood and lived. And we must protect them.
Since the creation of the United Nations more than 75 years ago, we have come a long way in human development. However, many - especially many minorities - have felt left out and left behind, overlooked, denounced and discriminated against.
But no one should be left behind, in our shared development.
This is the common dominator in the Sustainable Development Goals.
These goals embody a powerful commitment to achieving a life of dignity for all. The right to be who we are. That we feel embraced and included – because we all have the right to belong.
There is no room for discrimination in Human Rights.
Just as there is no room for discrimination in being exactly who you are and loving who you love.
A proverb from South Africa says that “Love, like rain, does not choose the grass on which it falls”.
We must be united in rejecting all forms of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. We need all the support and commitment we can get, in order to build a world where everyone is accepted and valued for who they are and where everyone can participate equally, fully and freely in all aspects of society.
It is with great pride that I stand before you today, to open the Copenhagen 2021 LGBTI+ Human Rights Forum. And proud that we can showcase our Danish values of equality and human rights at the core of this week’s celebrations.