Ambassador Delawie’s Statement for IDAHOT 2018, May 17, 2018
It is great to be here today on Mother Teresa Boulevard in the beautiful weather. I hope everybody comes out to see the beautiful day and to see the exhibition we have going here.
Today is the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia, better known by its acronym IDAHOT. I am here today to show the United States’ support for the human rights of LGBTI persons in Kosovo, for their right to live free from discrimination and fear. More important than my presence here is the presence of local activists and this exhibit. It is vital that Kosovo citizens are here speaking for themselves, showing their support for a marginalized community and engaging with people who may not know about the struggles LGBTI persons often face.
This year, the U.S. State Department is emphasizing that violence on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or sex characteristics, is a violation of basic human rights that we all share. That is why this exhibit is so timely- it forces us to acknowledge that even if we are not seeing violence in the streets, LGBTI persons are facing violent or hateful speech online or behind closed doors. We strongly support the investigation and prosecution of perpetrators of this type of harassment and violence under Kosovo’s anti-discrimination laws.
Kosovo has come a long way on this issue in a short time, and I applaud everyone working hard to overcome prejudices and change minds. Don’t give up, and the United States will be here to support you every step of the way.