Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu

Archbishop Desmond Tutu and three other esteemed Nobel Peace Prize winners have released a statement expressing their concern at the treatment of LGBTI people around the world.

The statement was signed by Tutu, Iranian democracy activist Shirin Ebadi, American anti-landmine campaigner Professor Jody Williams, and Bangladeshi economist Professor Muhammad Yunus.

It was released by the Robert F Kennedy Centre for Justice and Human Rights together with Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG).

The statement is in response to plans by Uganda’s government to ban 38 pro-gay human rights organisations as well as calls by Uganda’s Christian leaders for parliament to pass the infamous Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

“It is clear that our government and Christian leaders are escalating their campaign of intimidation and harassment against the LGBTI community in Uganda,” said Frank Mugisha, executive director of SMUG and 2011 RFK Human Rights Award winner.

“We welcome the moral courage of Archbishop Tutu and other world leaders, echoing their call to allow LGBTI people to live in peace in Uganda,” Mugisha added.

Below is the full statement.

Statement of Concern on Violence and Discrimination against LGBTI People

As a global community of individuals dedicated to a more peaceful and just world, we wish to express our grave concern as to how our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) brothers and sisters are being treated across the globe.

Collectively we represent a diverse array of countries and cultures. Today more than ever, we wish to express that the same cultural values, which have fostered and supported our lifelong quests for peace, also command us to speak out against the violence and discrimination our fellow human beings are enduring every day solely
because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex.

In many of our countries the influence of colonial era laws still makes outlaws of LGBTI people. Recent legislative efforts like those underway in Russia and Uganda could pose even more sinister sanctions on LGBTI people as well their allies, ourselves included. The criminalisation of adult, consensual homosexuality in any form is unacceptable. And, we must remain vigilant even in countries that rightly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, to ensure that LGBTI citizens are effectively protected from the hatred and bigotry that persists.

By expressing our solidarity with LGBTI people around the world, we recognise the inherent dignity and human rights of all individuals, without prejudice or intolerance, and we take an important step forward in our collective journey toward peace.

In the universal spirit of compassion and unity,

Archbishop Desmond Tutu

1984 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

South Africa

Professor Jody Williams

1997 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

United States

Dr. Shirin Ebadi

2003 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate


Professor Muhammad Yunus

2006 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate


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