I make this statement on behalf of Canada, Iceland, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and my own country, Norway.

We welcome May 17 as the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT), a celebration of diversity and inclusion around the world.

We fully endorse the IDAHOBIT Theme 2022 “Our bodies, our lives, our rights”. As such, we are committed to supporting the rights of people to freely express their gender and make their own choices about their bodies, free from harassment, violence, discrimination or retaliation.

We also wish to pay tribute to the courageous advocacy efforts led by human rights defenders, activists, journalists, media professionals and civil society organizations to raise awareness of the issues affecting LGBTI people and the human rights violations they may face.

We have all – as OSCE participating States – recognized that human rights are universal and indivisible. From this recognition flows the indisputable understanding that LGBTI people are entitled to the same respect as all the peoples of the world. We commend the efforts of participating States that uphold these values ​​and have made progress in recognizing the human rights of LGBTI people last year. Yet same-sex relations are still criminalized in two OSCE participating States, a number of participating States do not fully protect the rights of their LGBTI citizens, while other participating States increasingly restrict the rights to education, health and other LGBTI people. In addition, the efforts of the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) to help combat discrimination and hate crimes against LGBTI people are criticized by some participating States.

Mister President,

IDAHOBIT takes place this year as Russia’s unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine continues, and we are gravely concerned about the particular and severe impact of the war on people in vulnerable situations, including LGBTI people, as documented by the recent report of the Moscow mechanism. The experts’ report describes how the Russian attack on Ukraine put Ukraine LGBTI community on alert. Indeed, in his March 6, 2022 sermon, Moscow Patriarch Cyril cited gay parades among the main “sins” that compelled Russia to carry out its so-called special military operation in Ukraine.

In Ukraine, the legal status of LGBTI gradually improved, while Russia tightened restrictions and introduced discriminatory laws. Since 2014, the application of anti-LGBTI the legislation was extended to territories under effective Russian control and to the so-called “people’s republics” of Donetsk and Luhansk. The report notes an increase in acts of violence motivated by homophobia in all areas under Russian control. It describes how rumors that LGBTI people on the Russian list of people to be killed or sent to detention camps are spreading.

Mister President,

We again call on all participating States to eliminate laws and policies that discriminate against people on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or sex characteristics, and to combat all acts of violence aimed LGBTI people. We must stand united to celebrate the diversity and resilience of LGBTI community and in the defense of human rights, inclusiveness and justice.