Education International
Education International

Equal rights, respect, and dignity for all workers

published 16 May 2011 updated 16 May 2011

The global federation of unions, Education International (EI), Public Services International (PSI), and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) join other human rights defenders in celebrating International Day against Homophobia. Working in cooperation, the three global unions restate their pledge to resist all form of discrimination, intolerance and persecution based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Whilst trade unions have made significant advances in winning respect and dignity for LGBT workers, stigmatisation, prejudice, harassment and exclusion are still all too often a part of the daily experience for LGBT workers.  According to the 2011 global report of the International Labour Organisation “ Equality at work: the continuing challenge”, in most countries LGBT workers continue to face barriers to employment or at the workplace.  The report reveals that discrimination is responsible for a salary gap of 3 to 30 per cent between gay and non-gay employees.

PSI, EI and ITUC will renew efforts to promote awareness of the many diverse groups that form our member organisations and to ensure that discrimination has no place in the world of work.

EI, PSI and ITUC denounce all hate crimes, rape and gender based violence.  We strongly deplore the rise in violent attacks against LGBT peoples in countries including Brazil, Honduras, United States and South Africa and condemn legislative initiatives aimed at criminalizing homosexuality.  Of equal concern is the imposition of administrative sanctions for the “promotion of homosexual relations”, which can lead to discrimination in the workplace and in access to vital public services such as education, health, housing and legal services.

ITUC, EI and PSI welcome recent important legal outcomes such as the same-sex partnership by the Supreme Court in Brazil, the European Court of Justice ruling which gives equal rights to same-sex partners and the High Court decision in Uganda preventing tabloid newspapers from revealing the identities of LGBT peoples.  Sadly, this ruling came too late for teacher and human rights defender David Kato, who was beaten to death on January 27 after he was named in a newspaper article.

May 17 is a day on which human rights defenders around the world speak out against discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.  EI, PSI, and ITUC welcome the publication of the United Nations report“The United Nations Speaks Out: Tackling Discrimination on Grounds of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity”.

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