Ambassador Hall Remarks at the IDAHOT Reception
May 17, 2018
Distinguished guests, ambassadors, Executive Director Simonko,
Together with fellow like-minded embassies, I would like to thank you all for joining us today to recognize the International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia (IDAHOT). It is a special honor for me to hold this year’s reception at my residence, and I would like to thank the governments of Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Norway, and Sweden for their contributions to tonight’s event.
This year’s global IDAHOT theme is “Alliances for Solidarity.” I think there is no better example of a strong alliance than the one we have here today, with our Lithuanian partners from both government and civil society, and with such a great gathering of friends and allies from Europe and around the world.
It is noteworthy that so many of our governments are part of the Equal Rights Coalition, which was launched in 2016 and is dedicated to the protection of the rights of LGBTI people. And I would like to thank our Canadian friends for being the current co-chair of the Equal Rights Coalition, together with Chile.
As the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and in rights. We all have an obligation to protect, respect, and uphold the dignity, human rights, and fundamental freedoms of all people. It is wonderful to see the progress over just the past decade in ensuring the LGBTI community is afforded equal dignity and equal rights.
Yet we know there is more work to do, in all of our countries, across the world. For the United States, our global priorities for 2018 are focused on working to prevent violence and discrimination against LGBTI persons.
So here in Lithuania, I commend the work of those leaders and activists who have done so much to ensure the advancement of these human rights.
I especially look forward to next year, when Vilnius will host Baltic Pride 2019. It will be a great event, and as we have seen such progress each time Vilnius has hosted, I am sure we will see more crowds than ever before.
To Vladimir and the rest of the LGL team: we are eager to see what your plans will be, and how we can all be included in what will be the best Baltic Pride in history! (No offense to our friends in Latvia and Estonia).
Thank you all for being here and I would like to now pass the floor to LGL’s Executive Director Vladimir Simonko.