On May 17th, the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Korea and the embassies of 10 European countries in South Korea declared their support for LGBT rights in celebration of IDAHO, the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia.
The countries that participated in supporting LGBT rights in Korea were Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Norway, Spain, Slovenia, Sweden, and Great Britain, as well as the EU Delegation stationed in South Korea. On May 15th, they issued a joint press release stating, “We are keen to work with the Korean government and civil society in promoting respect for the human rights of LGBTI persons.”
On June 13th, the EU office and the embassies of 10 countries in Korea will operate their own booths at the Korea Queer Culture Festival in Seoul. The American, French, and German embassies had booths last year.
Blood donation mascot at the Korea Queer Culture Festival '14 (Wikimedia Commons)
EU officials are obligated to take the initiative to “promote and protect the human rights of LGBTI persons” in countries where they are present, according to the guidelines for supporting LGBTI people’s human rights that went into effect on June 24th, 2013.
The following is the full text of the press release from the EU Delegation and the embassies in Korea.
May 17th marks the 10th International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO). Our countries stand together with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex people (LGBTI) all across the world in the struggle to end discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Our governments welcome the support of the Republic of Korea in promoting universal human rights, especially through United Nations action. We also value the critical role played by civil society organisations in our countries and in Korea. We are keen to work with the Korean government and civil society in promoting respect for the human rights of LGBTI persons. Our respective Embassies will demonstrate our support for the efforts of Korea by participating in the “Korean Queer Culture Festival” that will take place in Seoul on June 13th 2015.
We are concerned that all too often LGBTI people face discrimination, violence and persecution for who they are or whom they love. We are particularly concerned that in 76 countries, homosexuality is still considered to be illegal. Sexual relations between consenting adults of the same sex are sometimes criminalized, liable to be punished with imprisonment or even with the death penalty.
Our countries are fully committed to tackling these violations and abuses both at home and at the global level. As the Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon recalled at an event in support of the fight against homophobia in December 2012, "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. All human beings – not some, not most, but all”.