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United Nations renews call for queer rights support in new video

BY NATASHA BARSOTTI — "The United Nations has one simple message to the millions of LGBT people around the world," secretary-general Ban Ki-moon says in a video, titled "The Riddle," that renews the call for equality.

You are not alone. LGBT rights are human rights. 

The video, which includes a diverse cast of people who outline the breadth of the discrimination faced by queer people globally, also features the UN's high commissioner for human rights, Navi Pillay, who reminds viewers that "every nation is obligated by international human rights law to protect all lesbians, gay, bisexual and transgender people from torture, discrimination and violence." transgender people from torture, discrimination and violence."

Since becoming UN head, Ban Ki-moon has repeatedly stepped up in support of queer people worldwide.

In a March 2012 message to the UN Human Rights Council on violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, the secretary-general noted that while he didn't grow up talking about these issues — "like many of my generation" — he said he learned to speak out because "lives are at stake." 

He referred to the UN human rights commissioner's report that revealed disturbing abuses in all regions, with a pattern of violence and discrimination against people just because they are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender; widespread bias at jobs, schools and hospitals; and "appalling" attacks, including sexual assault."

"This is a monumental tragedy for those affected," Ban Ki-moon said. 

Before that, in a Dec 8, 2011, statement Ban Ki-moon made to a UN panel called "Ending Bullying on the Basis of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity," he expressed concern over the bullying and violence that young people confront because of their presumed sexual orientation or gender identity. "But the roots go deeper," Ban Ki-moon added. "They lie in prevailing harmful attitudes in society at large, sometimes encouraged by divisive public figures and discriminatory laws and practices sanctioned by state authorities."

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