Pride 2024: A Unified Statement at the OSCE by Anne-Kirsti Karlsen

During the 2024 Pride Month, Anne-Kirsti Karlsen, Norway’s Permanent Representative to the OSCE, delivered a powerful joint statement on behalf of multiple nations including Andorra, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, San Marino, Sweden, the UK, and Norway.

Madam Chair, this address is supported by a collective of nations appreciative of the United States for initiating this discussion on Pride Month. Our collective aim is to promote human rights universally and to eradicate discrimination and violence against LGBTIQ individuals. As part of the OSCE, we are dedicated to upholding equality and fighting all forms of discrimination and hate crimes.

Recently, our delegations participated in the Vienna Pride Parade, a celebration of love, diversity, and human rights, underlining the ongoing significance of Pride events in advocating for LGBTIQ rights and confronting ongoing challenges in human rights and equality.

All nations are bound by international law to safeguard human rights without discrimination. This includes addressing the alarming rise in anti-LGBTIQ sentiment, notably influenced by misinformation. Certain governments have exploited these sentiments for political advantage, with Russia’s actions being particularly concerning.

This rising hostility has escalated to increased hate crimes, including violent attacks. For instance, in Norway, a 2022 mass shooting during Oslo Pride resulted in two deaths and multiple injuries, believed to be motivated by anti-LGBTIQ hate.

Madam Chair, two pressing concerns need our attention:

  1. LGBTIQ risks during armed conflicts: Notably, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine poses severe risks to LGBTIQ individuals. We urge the OSCE Support Program in Ukraine to enhance its focus on LGBTIQ issues within its activities.
  2. Backsliding on LGBTIQ rights: According to the ILGA’s 2024 Annual Review, there is a concerning regression in LGBTIQ rights promotion within the OSCE region. Instances of criminalization, absence of anti-discrimination laws, and new legislations curtailing LGBTIQ rights are alarming and threaten the integrity of our democracies.

We call upon global governments to abolish discriminatory laws, address hate crimes and speech, prevent violence against LGBTIQ individuals, and dismantle systemic barriers that hinder their full societal participation.

We have previously unified against intolerance towards religious and national minorities. Inspired by the Malta Conference’s stance against antisemitism, similar strategies should be employed to combat discrimination against LGBTIQ individuals within the OSCE region.

Madam Chair, discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex characteristics should never occur. This issue transcends the demand for special rights; it’s about ensuring equal rights for all.

Our collective goal is to foster a world where everyone can live freely, without fear of discrimination, allowing them to love openly and live authentically.

Thank you.

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