Today 78 countries around the world have laws that subject their citizens to severe criminal penalties for homosexuality. Such laws not only undermine human rights – they can also fuel discrimination, stigma, and even violence against people on the basis of their perceived sexual orientation and gender identities. And the impact of these laws can be even more severe on children and adolescents, who are especially vulnerable to bullying, violence, and stigma.
All people have a right to live a life of dignity, free from discrimination — irrespective of their gender identity or sexual orientation. Any law which heightens the risk of harm to children is counter to the principles established in the Convention on the Right of the Child, and the universal human instinct to protect children.
UNICEF will continue working to protect all children from discrimination, including those who identify as LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender), and we urge governments to safeguard their youngest citizens from violence or threat of reprisal for exercising their rights.