Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UN, United States

Love is a Family Value

NEW YORK, 10 December 2014

Speech by the Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UN, Mr. Karel J.G. van Oosterom on the occasion of the side-event Love is a Family Value, organized by the LGBT-Core Group in New York on International Human Rights Day.

Your Excellencies, dear guests, dear colleagues, dear friends,   

Let me welcome everyone to our event "Love is a family value". Wonderful to see such a full house. Thank you all for coming.

My name is Karel van Oosterom, Permanent representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and I speak in my capacity as co-Chair of the core group of countries which promote LGBT rights here at the UN.

Today is International Human Rights Day. This day brings to the attention to the peoples of the world the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the common standard for all peoples and nations. And it is a day to remind us of the responsibility of each and every one of us to promote and protect human rights.  

For the Netherlands, combatting violence and discrimination toward LGBTI people is a key priority of our human rights policy. We believe that all human beings are born free and equal, in dignity and rights, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. All states have an obligation under international human rights law to protect the rights of people, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity. Human rights equal LGBTI- LGBTI equal human rights. And of course in our view, every day is human rights day.

The theme of this year’s LGBT-event is ‘Love is a family value’. This contains a universal message. Today we not only pay attention to the individual, but also to the environment that the individual grows up in: the family. 

When LGBTI people are discovering their sexual orientation or gender identity, they often have to fight against stigma and prejudice in society. Therefore a loving and caring family is crucial. With this event we want to pay a special tribute to all those family members, who have given love and understanding to their loved ones who discovered their LGBTI identity.
Love, care and understanding are crucial because regrettably, growing up as an LGBTI person today still brings fear, exclusion and sometimes even violence.   

Today’s event – the first ever held at the UN on this theme- will show that love is indeed a family value. Together we must make this a reality for everyone.

Shortly I will give the floor to Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations. Big honour you are with us today. After his opening remarks our moderator, Thomas Roberts, will guide you through the rest of the event. Let me conclude by thanking the co-organizers of today; Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Croatia, El Salvador, France, Israel, Japan, Montenegro, New Zealand, Norway, the UK, the US, Uruguay, the European Union, the UN human rights office, Human Rights Watch and the International Gay & Lesbian Human rights Committee. 

May I ask you to join me in a warm round of applause for the co-organizers and the speakers of today’s event.