Committee: treatment or punishment” as well as that “everyone

Social and Humanitarian Committe
Preventing violence and discrimination based on sexual
orientation and gender identity

Name: Elena Keperti

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Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “all
human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”,
that “no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or
degrading treatment or punishment” as well as that “everyone is
entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this
Declaration, without distinction of any kind”. Even though these
doctrines were adopted in 1948, the world has fallen quite short of
these goals. Discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender
identity is one of the most solemn problems in our contemporary
society, which undoubtedly violates those fundamental rights and
leads to violence against numerous individuals around the world.
Consequently, the need to tackle this major issue, by discussing its
causes and by taking measures in a legal and practical level, is
mandatory worldwide.

Kingdom of the Netherlands strongly believes that all human beings
should be treated equally. As stated in the first article of our
country’s constitution “all persons in the Netherlands shall be
treated equally in equal circumstances”. The Netherlands has taken
measures in order to ensure that this is implemented and respected in
every sector of human activity. First and foremost, as an active
United Nations member, the Netherlands has participated in every
discussion relevant to the topic and has voted in favor of all
resolutions aiming to protect the rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual,
Transgender and Intersex people, including the A/HRC/RES/17/19 in
2011. Same sex sexual activity has been legal in the Netherlands
since 1811. From 1971, the age of consent is the same for both
heterosexual and homosexual people, for all forms of sexual
intercourse. Homosexual, transgender and intersex people can openly
serve in the military in the last 55 years. Moreover, sex
reassignment surgery is legal, but not necessary when a person wants
to change his or her legal gender. The Equal Rights Law, which was
enacted in 1994 in our country, bans discrimination based sexual
orientation on the grounds of education, health services, provision
of goods, housing, employment and public accomodation and
criminalises hate speech. In 2001, the Netherlands became the first
country in the whole world to legalise same sex marriage, when
domestic parternship benefits were granted to same sex couples in
1998, paving the way for other nations to do so. A married couple
formed of people of the same sex has the same rights and obligations
before the law as a married couple formed of a male and a female
person. This includes the right of automatic parenthood of both
parents after birth and the right to joint adoption. Apart from legal
measures, our country has implemented measures so as to raise
awareness of the issue among the public. These measures start from an
open minded, liberal education which includes sex education classes
for students of all ages, in which homosexuality is mentioned. In
addition, campaigns are held in every place in the country in order
to inform every citizen about the issue. The Pride Festivals
organised every year in the Netherlands are supported by our
government, both in an ethical and in a financial level. The
Netherlands is fully supportive of the work of various Non
Governmental Organisations, such as COC Nederland, the oldest
existing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender organisation in the
world. The results of these efforts can be easily understood if one
notices that in the 2015 European Union member poll 91% of the
Netherlands supported same sex marriage.

delegation, deeply concerned about the dangers of violence and
discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity
towards victims as well as the society in general, calls upon member
states to ensure their constitutional and legal systems are granting
equal rights to all their citizens. The Netherlands believes that any
kind of punishment for consensual sexual activity should be avoided ,
especially the death penalty which is sadly used in many United
Nations member states. Our country finds the existence of Sodomy Laws
in the 21st
century unacceptable and supports its immediate abolition. However,
it is in favor of the increasing of sentencing for those who violate
the rights of other people based on their sexual orientation and
gender identity and the criminalisation of hate speech. The
Netherlands, grounded in international human rights law, suggests the
creation of an international database that will contain information
about the state in which the rights of the members of the Lesbian,
Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex community are in. What is
more, the Kingdom of the Netherlands urges for psychological recovery
programs to be administered and conducted by individuals with
professional expertise in mental evaluation counseling as well as for
medical assistance for both short term and long term rehabilitation
for victims of violence. It is crucial that the issue is completely
understood by the public. In order to be done so, our country invites
all member states to establish awareness campaigns, include relevant
issues in their education system and support Non Governmental
Organisations. The mass media can help spread awareness by informing
people of the issue and by condemning discrimination and violence. If
all these are implemented globally, in a way that respects each
country’s culture, this thorny issue will be alleviated. As such, the
Netherlands is looking forward to offering its support, in whatever
form possible, to nations firmly committed to preventing violence
and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.