We thank the United States for convening this meeting which Switzerland is co-sponsoring. We thank the briefers for their interventions and reiterate Switzerland's full support for the mandate of the Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that all human beings "are born free and equal in dignity and rights". From this provision, the prohibition of discrimination is enshrined in several international conventions. Sexual orientation and gender identity are prohibited grounds for discrimination under international human rights law.
The protection of minorities and vulnerable groups is a priority for Switzerland. We are concerned that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons around the world continue to be victims of stigmatization, multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination and violence, prejudice and criminalization.
What is true in times of peace is exacerbated in times of conflict. As the Independent Expert has observed, LGBTIQ+ persons face a differential and disproportionate impact in situations of armed conflict. These include rape or other sexual and gender-based violence, as well as torture, unlawful killings, persecution and other physical and mental harm. Switzerland recalls that sexual violence against any person is a serious violation of human rights and may constitute a war crime or a crime against humanity.
Parties to conflicts around the world, particularly States, must respond to the high need for protection of LGBTIQ+ persons. International humanitarian law requires the humane and equal treatment of all persons, whether combatants, civilians or non-combatants, in all circumstances. To deny LGBTIQ+ persons protection from violence and adverse distinction is to deny them this fundamental principle.
As an elected member of this Council, we are committed to ensuring that the UN's activities on peace and security are inclusive and responsive to the diverse needs of all persons affected by conflict, including LGBTIQ+ persons.
In order to advance this goal while keeping in mind that human rights apply to all persons, we would like to propose the following courses of action today:
First of all, all actors involved must be able to understand and identify the needs and vulnerabilities of LGBTIQ+ persons. This means, for example, the implementation of contextualized training at all levels, including in peacebuilding missions and with troop and police contributing states as well as for humanitarian actors. Increased awareness within peacebuilding missions and among troop- and police-contributing states is essential to ensure that responses are tailored to the needs of the population in all its diversity. Applying a gender-approach based on the Women, Peace and Security Agenda allows us to comprehend other dimensions of identity, how these dimensions interact, and the specific needs and vulnerabilities. In fact, this agenda provides a framework for an intersectional perspective.
In the same vein, there is a need to better record conflict-related violence faced by LGBTIQ+ persons. At an event on gender equality organized by Switzerland on the occasion of this year’s session of the Commission on the Status of Women, one of the panelists stated "Measure what you treasure". There is no data on the impact of different violations of the rights of LGBTIQ+ persons, including in relation to children. However, in collecting this data it is essential to take a "do no harm" approach in order to better protect LGBTIQ+ persons.
Finally, the rights of LGBTIQ+ persons should be more integrated in the different agendas of this Council. Resolution 1325 suggests that the Council can only work effectively if it recognizes the diversity within the society in which it carries out its protection and prevention mandate. The participation of LGBTIQ+ persons in peacebuilding efforts is essential to ensure the transformation of the underlying prejudices that fuel violence against them.
All violations and attacks based on sexual orientation, gender identity or sexual characteristics are unacceptable. They must be stopped and, above all, prevented. The international community in collaboration with civil society must redouble its efforts to promote the values of tolerance and inclusion of LGBTIQ+ persons. In doing so we must also take into consideration local knowledge and expertise. This is how we will achieve our common goal: to ensure universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, regardless of their actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity and expression or sexual characteristics. This is a prerequisite for building lasting peace.
I thank you.