As anti-gay violence continues to invade LGBT communities throughout the world, the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) announced in a press release on July 26, the launching of the Free & Equal campaign which will focus on global public education for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality.
Joined by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and Justice Edwin Cameron of the South African Constitutional Court, UN High Commission for Human Rights Navi Pillay announced the project at a press conference held in Cape Town, South Africa. He said the goal is to raise awareness but also to send the message that everyone is born free and equal and should be treated as such. He realizes that it will be a long, but necessary fight.
“Changing attitudes is never easy. But it has happened on other issues and it is happening already in many parts of the world on this one. It begins with often difficult conversations. And that is what we want to do with this campaign. Free & Equal will inspire millions of conversations among people around the world and across ideological spectrum.”
Communication is often what leads to some form of acceptance. But with homosexuality being targeted as a crime in many countries, it will take more communication on a higher level to get the message across and raise awareness of homophobic and transphobic violence and discrimination. The announcement of the campaign follows an OHCHR report which highlighted that 76 countries still criminalize same-sex relationships and relations and there has been a rise in physical assault, and murders across regions of the world.
According to the press release, Free & Equal’s will set its aim towards legal reforms and public education and will have the support of such stars as pop singer Ricky Martin amongst other international stars to help spread campaign messages through social media outlets.