I am a great champion of the power of youth to change the world, but this week I celebrate a 64-year old responsible for ushering in momentous progress. Not a person, but a document that was born in December 1948 and forever altered the view of how we treat members of our human family. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights triggered a fundamental shift in global thinking by affirming that all human beings _ not some, not most, but all _ are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
The fight to realise the ideals of the declaration is at the heart of the mission of the United Nations. The international community has built a strong record of combatting racism, promoting gender equality, protecting children, and breaking down barriers facing persons with disabilities. We have a long way to go in all of these areas. But we are turning the tide on discrimination in both law and practice.
While some old prejudices have started to dissolve, others remain. Around the world, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people are targetted and assaulted, sometimes killed. Even children and teens are taunted by their peers, beaten and bullied, pushed out of school, disowned by their families, forced into marriage and, in the worst cases, driven to suicide. LGBT people suffer at work, at clinics and hospitals, and in schools _ the very places that should protect them. More than 76 countries continue to criminalise homosexuality.
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