UN Global standards for business to tackle LGBTI discrimination launched in Belgrade today

© UNCT Serbia/Marko Rupena

UN officials, business representatives, government representatives and civil sector launch global standards to promote equality for LGBTI people in workplace and beyond. Three companies in Serbia join the growing list of early adopters

Belgrade, 11  October 2018The global LGBTI equality standards for the business community have been launched today by the UN Country Team in Serbia and the LGBTI Equal Rights Association for Western Balkans and Turkey (ERA) in partnership with the UN Global Compact in Serbia and the Commissioner for Protection of Equality at the special event with government officials, business representatives, and civil sector.

Drawing on good practices from around the world, these standards set out actions companies can take to protect the rights of LGBTI individuals. These include eliminating workplace discrimination, making sure business operations do not contribute to discrimination against customers, suppliers or members of the public, and working with business partners to address discriminatory practices up and down the supply chain. They also encourage companies to stand up for the rights of LGBTI people in the countries where they operate – including through advocacy and support for local organizations.

In Serbia, Hemofarm AD, Ernst & Young DOO and Erste Bank AD (all members of the UN Global Compact network in Serbia) join the growing list of early adopters.

Welcoming the standards, the UN Resident Coordinator in Serbia Ms. Karla Robin Hershey said: “By adopting the UN Global Standards of Conduct for Businesses in regard to LGBTI equality, United Nations recognized the importance of cooperation between state, civil society, corporate sector and international organizations. Equality and the protection of discrimination are binding principles everywhere and for everyone, and as such are recognized by the United Nations. For this very reason, the UN Country Team in Serbia stands ready to support to all actors in order to achieve equality in all spheres of life, including equality in business sector.“  

Speaking at the launch, the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality Brankica Jankovic noted that “It is important that we are united with the idea that business and human rights are on the same sides and that the economy cannot be separated from people.”

The Standards of Conduct build on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, adopted by the UN Human Rights Council in 2011. They are the product of a year-long process of consultations facilitated by the UN Human Rights Office and the Institute for Human Rights and Business, including regional meetings with leading business representatives and activists in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas.

The Standards have already been launched in New York, Mumbai, Paris, London, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Geneva, Davos, Melbourne, Nairobi and Sao Paolo. Launching of the UN Standards in the Republic of Serbia is the first in South-East Europe, after the Standards had been launched in other parts of the World. Serbian is the seventh language in which the Standards are available globally.

The five standards:

RESPECT the human rights of their LGBTI workers, customers and members of the public

ELIMINATE workplace discrimination against LGBTI employees

SUPPORT LGBTI employees at work

PREVENT discrimination and related abuses against LGBTI customers, suppliers and distributors – and insist that suppliers do the same

STAND UP for the human rights of LGBTI people in the communities where companies do business

About the event

The launch of the Global standards for business to tackle LGBTI discrimination is an integral part of a series of events and activities held on the occasion of the commemoration of this year’s 73rd anniversary of the United Nations and the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The central theme of the UN73 anniversary is the UN Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals, which were adopted by more than 150 member states, including Serbia, at the UN headquarters in New York in September 2015.

Progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals contained in the Agenda 2030, European integration and achievement of the national development and human rights priorities are inseparable processes. Thus, this event, that is being implemented through the Development Partnership Framework 2016-2020 between the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the UN Country Team in Serbia, contributes to the efforts of the Republic of Serbia in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (5, 10, 16), as well as the EU accession process (Chapters 23 and 24), and human rights standards in the country.

Contact:

Aleksandra Stamenković, UN Country Team Communications Expert

Tel: +381 63 302 831, e-mail: aleksandra.stamenkovic@one.un.org