“The ageless cliché that everyone is equal but some are more equal than others is not acceptable. No human being should be denied their human rights simply because of their perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. No human being should be subject to discrimination, violence, criminal sanctions or abuse simply because of their perceived sexual orientation or gender identity,” she said in a video message.
“Ironically many of these laws, like Apartheid laws that criminalized sexual relations between consenting adults of different races, are relics of the colonial and are increasingly recognized as anachronistic and as inconsistent both with international law and with traditional values of dignity, inclusion and respect for all.”
She said that laws proscribing the death penalty for such activities are used to justify threats, attacks to the physical and moral integrity of persons, including their exposure to torture, with human rights defenders being particularly vulnerable.
“The stigma attached to these issues means that violence and discrimination often go unpunished as victims dare not report their cases and the authorities do not pay sufficient attention to those who do,” Ms. Pillay added.