Statement by Minister of Foreign Affairs on International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia


May 17, 2017 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement:

“Over the past 50 years, Canada has taken important steps to recognize the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people. The elimination in 1969 of laws regulating consensual same-sex conduct, the 1995 inclusion in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms of sexual orientation as a prohibited ground for discrimination and the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2005 stand out as milestone victories in the pursuit of equal rights for all Canadians. Most recently, in May 2016, the Government of Canada introduced legislation to protect transgender Canadians and prevent discrimination based on gender identity and expression.

“While other countries have taken similar progressive steps, too many have not; relatively few countries recognize same-sex relationships or provide legal protection from discrimination, more than 70 countries criminalize same-sex relations, and six countries impose the death penalty.

“Just last month, the world learned that gay and bisexual men in Chechnya were being arbitrarily detained, tortured and killed. We deplore these reprehensible reports and call for the protection of all persons in Chechnya whose sexual orientation makes them a target for harassment.

“Those who demean the LGBTI community must understand that diversity and inclusion are drivers of progress and prosperity. Recognizing equal rights is vital for any society to reach its full potential. That is why we are proud to be seeking to co-chair the Equal Rights Coalition, a network of 33 governments committed to promoting and protecting the rights of LGBTI people around the world, through which Canada will be able to provide greater leadership and expertise in this area.

“On International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, Canada stands with all LGBTI persons to condemn discrimination in every form. We must and will continue to raise LGBTI rights whenever and wherever necessary, reminding those who discriminate that human rights are universal and indivisible and apply equally to all human beings.”     


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