Remarks at a Third Committee Interactive Dialogue on Protection Against Violence and Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

Marilyn Gayton
ECOSOC Advisor
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
October 29, 2020


Thank you, Independent Expert Madrigal. Let me begin with a question: What strategies can countries implement to improve data collection on violence directed against LGBTI persons without doing harm?

We appreciate this opportunity to highlight the continued need to combat violence and discrimination against LGBTI persons globally. Protecting and defending the human rights of all people has long been and remains at the heart of American foreign policy. The United States proudly advances efforts to protect LGBTI populations from violence, criminalization, discrimination, and stigma.

Around the world, LGBTI persons are subjected to violence and bias-motivated crime. The United States stands against all forms of violence, including human rights violations and abuses against people on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity. All governments should uphold their commitment to protect and respect every person’s fundamental freedoms, and no government should support or encourage violence or hostility directed at LGBTI persons under any circumstances.

Continued barriers to accurate reporting of violence, harassment, and discrimination— something exacerbated by laws criminalizing LGBTI status or conduct— is deeply concerning. The negative impact of such laws can be heightened by COVID-19 pandemic-related emergency restrictions on certain fundamental freedoms. LGBTI persons have reported increased human rights abuses and restrictions on their freedom of association and their right to peaceful assembly during this time.

Comprehensive and accurate data collection is essential to formulating policy and to holding officials and others accountable for behavior inconsistent with the equal rights of LGBTI persons. We are concerned that such data remains lacking both in many national contexts and in some UN reporting. Especially in light of current global challenges that increase the vulnerability of LGBTI persons to violence and discrimination, the United States will continue to mobilize resources to protect the human rights of LGBTI persons. Better data will further this effort.