Recognition of freedom of belief, UN calls to religious leaders in support of homosexuals
The United Nations and international experts in human rights considered on Friday that religious leaders and institutions must eliminate speech or practices that may incite discrimination or violence against homosexuals.
Their call came amid a debate about the relationship between religious freedoms and the rights of LGBT people, especially that the British government intends to ban the so-called “conversion therapy”, which aims to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, after a proposal from a conservative Christian lobby group representing 3,500 churches.
The United Nations said, in a statement, that “religious authorities have a responsibility to ensure that religion and traditions are not used to reinforce discrimination against people on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity.”
In the discussion session, a UN declaration was signed by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and more than 100 experts from the United Nations.
Victor Madrigal Burlows, the UN Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Sexual Identity, stressed that “the right to freedom of religion or belief must be recognized for all human beings, including LGBT people.”
The expert called on religious leaders to “reduce anti-LGBT speech because it may lead to violence and discrimination,” noting that “such incitement constitutes hate speech and is not protected by freedom of expression or freedom of religion or belief.” Reuters