Human Rights Day at the United Nations to Focus on the Economic Cost of LGBT Exclusion
(New York - December 10, 2015)—On Human Rights Day, OutRight Action International is releasing the final video in its "Cost of Exclusion" LGBTIQ Africa series (https://youtu.be/Dw5UTTnZQXY)- a theme that will be highlighted on a global basis during a special United Nations Human Rights Day event on Thursday.
OutRight is a co-organizer of "The Economic Cost of LGBT Exclusion" event as a member of the LGBT Core Group, a cross-regional organization of 18 countries, NGOs, and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Speakers will include Dr. James Heinz, economics professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst; Dan Bross, senior director, Business and Corporate Responsibility at Microsoft, and Ugandan human rights defender Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera. Marcus Mabry, head of U.S. curation for Twitter "Moments" will moderate the discussion. The event begins at 3 p.m. in the Trusteeship Council Room. Press coverage is open. Watch live: facebook.com/unitednationshumanrights
Every year OutRight hosts an international delegation of human rights defenders for the week around Human Rights Day for meetings with governments and UN agencies to advocate progress on human rights for LGBTIQ people. Fifty advocates are participating this year, from across all regions.
"The economic exclusion of marginalized communities like LGBTIQ people deserves top priority as UN member states work to reduce poverty and drive progress on equality and justice under the Sustainable Development Goals," said Jessica Stern, OutRight executive director. "We must strive to make sure all people—with no exceptions-- can freely and fully participate in the economies of their countries."
In OutRight's video on the cost of exclusion, Pierre Brouard, co-director for the Center for the Study of Aids at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, cites data that showed a link between more progressive climates for LGBTI people and other economic indicators in society. "As those societies became more accepting of minorities, the economies were doing better…it suggests to me that when people are included in the society and they are healthy, they can be productive and contribute to the GDP of their countries," concludes Brouard.
The "Cost of Exclusion" series features prominent African LGBTIQ activists and others, including Chesterfield Samba, director of Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe; Justice Edwin Cameron of the South African Constitutional Court; and Zakhele Mbhele, South Africa's first openly gay Member of Parliament. Watch the first two videos here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDBBbveIozTh4SLqfKMcjy0rLyIb_5laY
In producing the videos it became quite evident how little reliable research and data there is on the economic lives of LGBT Africans. Information is virtually non-existent on their livelihoods- where they work, in what fields and in what capacities.
"If LGBTIQ Africans are nearly totally excluded from analysis and research, how can we know what they need?" asked Stern.
In response to these critical gaps in data and evidence base surrounding the inequalities and exclusion faced by LGBTIQ people worldwide, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has launched an initiative to be announced on Thursday that will focus on measuring LGBTI inclusion through the creation of an LGBTI Inclusion Index. OutRight is a civil society partner in this project.
OutRight Action International
Every day around the world, LGBTIQ people's human rights and dignity are abused in ways that shock the conscience. The stories of their struggles and their resilience are astounding, yet remain unknown—or willfully ignored—by those with the power to make change. OutRight Action International, founded in 1990 as the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, works alongside LGBTIQ people in the Global South, with offices in six countries, to help identify community-focused solutions to promote policy for lasting change. We vigilantly monitor and document human rights abuses to spur action when they occur. We train partners to expose abuses and advocate for themselves. Headquartered in New York City, OutRight is the only global LGBTIQ-specific organization with a permanent presence at the United Nations in New York that advocates for human rights progress for LGBTIQ people.