Joint Press Release on the International Conference on Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Oslo, Norway, 15 and 16 April 2013

15 and 16 April, South Africa and Norway co-chaired an international conference on Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Oslo, Norway. The Conference gathered more than 200 participants from 84 countries of all regions of the world, representing UN Member States, UN staff, national and regional human rights experts as well as participants from civil society.

- We are very pleased that such a broad range of participants have been able to join us in Oslo for this historic event, say the Conference Co-chairs, Mr. Jerry Matjila of South Africa and Ms. Bente Angell-Hansen of Norway.

Prior to the Oslo Conference, seminars were held in Kathmandu, Paris and Brasilia, in addition to several civil society events in the African region. Drawing upon these regional seminars, the concluding international conference in Oslo has identified key challenges and implementation gaps and summed up lessons learnt and best practices.

Testimonies at the Conference confirmed that persons in all regions are subject to violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. They face multiple barriers in their everyday lives, systematically denying their enjoyment of the fundamental rights to which all human beings are entitled.

- It is our hope that what has been discussed here in Oslo will contribute to a more systematic follow-up within the United Nations system, as well as on regional and national levels. We can no longer ignore the grave human rights violations that Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender persons suffer from on a daily basis.

Enquiries: Mr Clayson Monyela, Spokesperson for the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, +27 82 884 5974.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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