Victor Madrigal made the call at the International Gay and Lesbian and Transgender Association World Conference (ILGA).
Victor Madrigal, a UN expert, has called on all of the countries that currently criminalise homosexuality to decriminalise it by 2030. He made the call at the IGLA, which is currently being held in New Zealand.
“I don’t see why we shouldn’t ask to see a world free of criminalisation by 2030,” he said. He added: “Decriminalisation is not getting us from zero to one: it is getting us from minus one to zero.”
He also used his speech to hit out at countries who attempted to justify their laws, as well as ones who have them on the statute book despite claiming not to enforce them.
“There is no room to argue for legal justification of criminalization of same-sex relations,” he said. “Criminalisation creates an incentive for persecution.”
He then added how there was a need for countries to work together, saying: “Coalition is fundamental, not one state can do this alone.”
Alongside Madrigal’s speech, the IGLA released the 13th edition of its report on how laws around the world affect the LGBTQ community. They found that 70 countries criminalise homosexuality, with a further six punishing same-sex activity with death. The report also found the death penalty was possible in five other countries.
It also found that 26 countries have the maximum penalty for same-sex relations as between ten years and life imprisonment, and an additional 32 have laws banning freedom of expression.
However, on a lighter side, three countries have decriminalised homosexuality since the last report, those being Trinidad and Tobago, India and Angola. Also, nine countries have constitutions that ban discrimination against the LGBTQ community and a further 39 have laws that ban incitement to hatred, discrimination and violence based on someone’s sexual identity.
Speaking about the negative aspects, Ruth Baldacchino and Helen Kennedy, the co-secretaries of the IGLA, said: “These are not just numbers, but laws that actually impact the daily lives of people of diverse sexual orientations around the world.”