Koenders inaugurates rainbow crossing in front of UN headquarters

In New York today, foreign minister Bert Koenders, US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power and New York City officials inaugurated a rainbow-coloured pedestrian crossing directly in front of the UN headquarters. The crossing is a colourful appeal for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. Several hundred world leaders are gathered at the UN headquarters this week for the opening of the General Assembly.

‘The crossing literally gives traffic pause to reflect on the importance of LGBT rights,’ Mr Koenders said. Last June the UN Human Rights Council made a milestone agreement to put LGBT rights on its regular agenda. It also resolved to appoint an independent expert on violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Mr Koenders observed, ‘By painting the rainbow crossing here, during this crucial week, the city of New York and the LGBT Core Group are vividly illustrating the need to address the human rights of LGBT people in all 193 UN member states.’

Promoting equal rights for LGBT people is one of the priorities of Dutch human rights policy. On Wednesday UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and US Vice-President Joe Biden will join Mr Koenders at an event organised by the UN LGBT Core Group in support of the LGBT community. The Netherlands is co-chair of the Group, with Argentina.