UNESCO Leads New LGBT Anti-Bullying Initiative
Thursday, December 08, 2011
By: Kaos GL
UNESCO has launched the United Nations first international consultation on dealing with bullying against LGBT students (lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender) in schools and universities. Recent studies, like the Discrimination on Grounds of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Europe study undertaken by the Council of Europe, have identified persistent homophobic and transphobic attitudes worldwide, leaving LGBT people vulnerable to alarming rates of hate crimes, discrimination and violence because of their sexual orientation.
The consultation is taking place between December 6th and 9th in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Hotel Golden Tulip Regent, Av. Atlântica, 3176, Copacabana). It will explore how best to support LGBT students and teachers, prevent and combat homophobic and transphobic bullying in schools, as well as ensuring LGBT-safe learning environments.
Speakers at the opening ceremony included Pedro Chequer, Coordinator of UNAIDS in Brazil (United Nations Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS); Dida Figueiredo, representing the Human Rights Secretariat of the President of the Republic’s Office, Cláudio Nascimento, Rio de Janeiro State Government Superintendant of Individual, Collective and Diffuse Rights, Fábio Cléber, representing the National Network of Young People Living with HIV/AIDS and Mark Richmond, UNESCO Global Coordinator for HIV and AIDS and Director of the Division of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development.
The initiative is evaluating programmes and policies existing all over the world with the aim of sharing best practices with education ministries.
In the United States more than 90% of LGBT students state having been victims of homophobic harassment; in New Zealand 98% of LGBT people state having suffered verbal or physical abuse at school. Such homophobic violence violates young people’s right to education and to safe learning environments.
As a result of stigma and discrimination at school, young people suffering homophobic harassment are more likely to give up studying. They are also more likely to consider self-mutilation, commit suicide and engage in activities or behaviours that represent a risk to their health.
Specialists from 25 countries are taking part in the consultation: Australia, Belgium, Lithuania, Cameroon, China, Colombia, Denmark, El Salvador, Macedonia, England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Mexico, Namibia, Holland, Peru, Samoa, South Africa, Sweden, Turkey, USA and Brazil.
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