Human Rights Council 53rd session
Interactive Dialogue with the Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
Nordic-Baltic statement by Iceland on behalf of Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden
21 June 2023
Thank you, Mr. President.
I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic-Baltic countries.
We reiterate our unwavering support for the work of the Independent Expert and this critical mandate.
The right to freedom of religion or belief and the right to live free from violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity are not at odds and states are bound to uphold these rights together.
However, as the report highlights, some states use religious narratives and invoke freedom of religion to excuse, condone or justify discrimination and violence against LGBT and other gender diverse persons.
Criminalisation of consensual same-sex conduct is one of the most severe manifestations of state-led discrimination and repression of persons of diverse sexual orientation and gender identity. Justifications range from dogmatic interpretations of faith-based scriptures to colonial-era legislation that has morphed into norms invoking religion.
We urge states that have not done so yet to decriminalise consensual same-sex conduct, in line with their obligations under international human rights law.
The full realisation of all human rights of LGBT and other gender diverse persons hinges on states respecting, fulfilling and upholding the rights and fundamental freedoms of all their citizens, in all their diversity.