A dozen UN agencies issue unprecedented call for LGBT rights

President Barack Obama, accompanied by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, right, and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, left, speaks as he chairs the Leaders’ Summit on Countering ISIL and Countering Violent Extremism, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015, at the United Nations headquarters.

President Barack Obama, accompanied by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, right, and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, left, speaks as he chairs the Leaders’ Summit on Countering ISIL and Countering Violent Extremism, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015, at the United Nations headquarters. AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

President Barack Obama, accompanied by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, right, and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, left, speaks as he chairs the Leaders’ Summit on Countering ISIL and Countering Violent Extremism, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015, at the United Nations headquarters. AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

President Barack Obama, accompanied by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, right, and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, left, speaks as he chairs the Leaders’ Summit on Countering ISIL and Countering Violent Extremism, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015, at the United Nations headquarters.

NEW YORK — The annual U.N. gathering of world leaders, at which they’re tackling major crises like the refugee issue and crises in Syria, Yemen and elsewhere, is underway Tuesday afternoon.

A dozen U.N. agencies have issued an unprecedented joint call for countries to end violence against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Tuesday’s statement comes as world leaders gather to address an annual U.N. meeting.

The agencies for human rights, refugees, children, health, food and more say they are “seriously concerned” that millions of people around the world face widespread human rights violations.

The call comes shortly before the U.N. secretary-general convenes a meeting on including LGBT individuals in an ambitious new set of global development goals for the next 15 years.

The statement says violence and discrimination against LGBT individuals have far-reaching effects on society and even economic growth. And it urges the 76 states with laws that criminalize same-sex acts between consenting adults to repeal them.

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