On the occasion of the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia, and in recognition of Finland’s ongoing and increasing commitment to advance the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons, Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Tom Malinowski and Finnish Ambassador to the United States Ritva Koukku-Ronde issued the following joint statement:
The United States and Finland recognize that supporting human rights is the responsibility of all governments and peoples, and that the human rights of LGBT persons are not different or separate from the human rights of any other persons. Defending the human rights of LGBT persons is part of our shared human rights policies, and of our respective foreign policies. As part of its commitment to these values, Finland announces its pledge to increase its support to the Global Equality Fund by 1 million Euros, and will continue to work with the United States and other like-minded partners—including the governments of Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden, as well as the Arcus Foundation, the John D. Evans Foundation, LLH: the Norwegian LGBT Organization, the M•A•C AIDS Fund, Deloitte, and Out Leadership—to build on our shared commitment and partnership to advance freedom, equality, and dignity for all.
The international community plays a leading role in promoting universal human rights and non-discrimination around the world. Through the Global Equality Fund, like-minded governments, foundations, and corporations work together to affirm a consistent global message that LGBT rights are human rights. Through the Fund, governments are able to partner in support of civil society organizations working to advance tolerance and respect for all persons, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Working together not only increases our effectiveness, but also helps to further the notion that ensuring the ability of LGBT persons to live safely, freely, and without discrimination is a growing priority among many governments as well as non-governmental partners. The United States and Finland will continue to focus our mutual efforts on combating human rights abuses against LGBT persons, wherever they occur, to ensure that all persons are free to lead their lives with dignity and equality.