Foreign Minister Rinkēvičs: More active engagement of the international community is required to decriminalise LGBT and to end its discrimination worldwide

15.02.2020. 09:36

Although positive tendencies are present in the world concerning the rights of sexual minorities, there are a number of countries where representatives of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community still cannot enjoy the norms of human rights and freedoms, underlined the Latvian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edgars Rinkēvičs, in a discussion on the decriminalisation of LGBT held today as part of the Munich Security Conference.

There are more than 60 countries worldwide that criminalise same-sex relationships. In this context, the Foreign Minister welcomes the discussion initiated by the United States on decriminalisation of LGBT, which highlights the problem with the situation of sexual minorities in certain countries and seeks ways to improve the situation.

Edgars Rinkēvičs noted that the discussion on the need to decriminalise LGBT should not be regarded as an attempt to impose any Western values or norms, since the eradication of all forms of discrimination is one of the commitments made by countries upon joining international human rights conventions. It is meaningful that one of the discussions on the decriminalisation of LGBT is taking part as part of the Munich Security Conference, which means that human security is part of a wider discussion on security in the contemporary world.

It is alarming that, regrettably, steps are being taken in some countries to impose new or even stronger penalties on LGBT over same-sex relationships. One of the negative examples of subjecting members of the LGBT community to persecution and torture is Chechnya in Russia’s North Caucasus region. Latvia will continue drawing attention to this issue at international organisations.

Edgars Rinkēvičs is certain that all instruments of diplomatic and bilateral dialogue at the disposal of international community should be used to strengthen civil society and the human rights protection movement in the countries where such restrictions are in effect, and to eliminate all types of discrimination.

Background information: From 14 to 16 February 2020, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edgars Rinkēvičs, is taking part in the Munich Security Conference in Germany, held to discuss important security and defence policy issues. The annual security conference in Munich is one of the most prominent events of this kind in Europe; it brings together world leaders, influential politicians, journalists and international policy experts.

During the conference, the Minister will have several bilateral meetings with his foreign counterparts and give interviews to mass media.


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