Speech of Ms. Louise Chamberlain, UNDP Country Director, on behalf of the UN at VietPride Opening

Aug 2, 2013

Speaker: Ms Louise Chamberlain, UNDP Country Director
Date:      Friday 2 August
Event:     VietPride Opening
Venue:    Goethe Institute, 56-58 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Ha Noi

It is a real pleasure for me and my UN colleagues to join you all here today as you launch Viet Pride 2013, a truly national campaign organized by Vietnamese civil society, with such strong ownership and commitment to this important issue.

Your commitment and hard work has already yielded results. Civil Society Organizations working on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender issues are getting stronger. They are engaging more fruitfully with the government, and by working closely with the media are ensuring that sexual diversity is being portrayed in a much more positive light.

Yet, being LGBT in Viet Nam is still challenging.  A recent national LGBT dialogue supported by the UN revealed that many LGBT people continue to face severe stigma and discrimination from their families, at schools, in the workplace, and also in healthcare settings simply for being ‘different’.

Addressing stigma and discrimination is essential.  

Last week the United Nations launched a worldwide campaign, Free & Equal, to raise awareness of homophobic violence and discrimination, and to promote greater respect for the rights of LGBT people everywhere. Here in Viet Nam, I would like to assure you of the continued support of the UN family to take the work forward.

Before I end these brief remarks, I would like to bring you the words from the Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who said:

“To those who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, let me say: you are not alone. Your struggle for an end to violence and discrimination is a shared struggle”. End of quote.

You are not alone. Together we will build a world that is free and equal.

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