Presentation of the United Nations Standards of Conduct to Tackle Workplace Discrimination against LGBTI People

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the European Union and Cooperation; the Ministry of the Presidency, Parliamentary Affairs and Equality; the Confederation of Employers and Industries of Spain (CEOE); Forética and REDI today organised the presentation in Spain of the United Nations Standards of Conduct for Business to tackle discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and intersex (LGBTI) people.
The Standards were presented by Fabrice Houdart, Human Rights Officer at the United Nations High Commission on Human Rights.

These Standards of Conduct are in line with international regulations on human rights and complement the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The purpose of these guidelines is to help companies both review their policies and practices, and to develop new strategies to respect and promote the human rights of LGBTI people.

Said standards are based on the analysis of best practices at a global level and lay out actions that may be implemented by companies in order to protect the rights of the LGBTI people. This includes eliminating unfair treatment in the workplace, ensuring that business operations do not contribute to the discrimination against customers or suppliers and to work with collaborators in order to eliminate discriminatory practices throughout the supply chain. Likewise, they encourage companies to defend the rights of LGBTI people in the countries where they operate, promoting and supporting local organisations.
As emphasised by the State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Fernando Martín Valenzuela, “the fight against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or sexual characteristics constitutes one of Spain’s foreign policy priorities with regard to Human Rights”. At international level, Spain advocates the effective implementation of international regulations on human rights governed by the principle of universality and non-discrimination. In recent years, we have promoted several actions for the defence of the human rights of LGBTI people in different multilateral forums (the United Nations, the European Union, the Equal Rights Coalition, the Council of Europe, European LGBTI Governmental Focal Points Network, etc.)”.

Ignacio Sola Barleycorn, Director General of Equality of Treatment and Diversity, defended the implementation of active policies in order for the LGBTI reality to be included in all organisations as an act of responsibility on the part of public administrations and companies. “The enhancement of the legal framework and the building of alliances between the public and the private sector demonstrates this Government's commitment to promoting equality of treatment and diversity. The State Secretariat for Equality has initiated various initiatives over recent years with the aim of fostering more inclusive environments in companies with regard to sexual diversity and gender identity. These initiatives include the signing of the European Diversity Charter, the execution of the European project ADIM (“Advancing in LGBT Diversity management in the public and private sector”), in partnership with the government of Portugal and support for studies and diagnoses on the situation of LGBTI people in the workplace as well as support for other actions carried out in collaboration with civil organisations that work for the defence of, and respect for, the rights of the LGBTI community”. Sola expressed full support of the Directorate-General for Equality of Treatment and Diversity for the LGBTI Business Standards of the United Nations High Commission on Human Rights.

On the part of the CEOE, the President of the Equality of Treatment Commission, Val Díez wished to highlight “the symbolic value of the presentation of the Principles of respect for diversity being held at the headquarters of the CEOE, as evidence of the institution’s commitment to the dissemination of these values of Equality and Respect, as the business community must be an example of openness and acceptance of the differences between people, promoting values of justice and ethics that improve and enrich companies”.

As Germán Granda, Director General of Forética, declared, “managing diversity requires leadership in the construction of a corporate culture that promotes non-discrimination, equality and inclusion within the strategies and operations of companies. It is an ethical commitment and, what's more, it is a key element for the competitiveness of businesses and organisations”.

Miguel Castro, President of the Business Association REDI, declared that “inclusive companies not only benefit from the business case accompanying corporate diversity in areas such as attracting and retaining talent or innovation. The United Nations Standards for the inclusion of the LGBTI collective provide clear evidence of the importance of the role played by companies and how these can become true social leaders for the defence of human rights”.





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