On Eve of Stonewall Riots Anniversary, Equal Rights Trust Expresses Solidarity with LGBT Community

The Equal Rights Trust – the only international human rights organisation focussed solely on the right to equality – has marked the 40th Anniversary of the Stonewall riots by calling on LGBT rights advocates to endorse the unified concept of equality, as expressed in the Declaration of Principles on Equality. Speaking on the eve of the anniversary, Dimitrina Petrova, Executive Director of ERT, said that in countries where LGBT people suffer institutional discrimination, reliance on the integrated concept of equality could point a way forward.

Dr Dimitrina Petrova said:

“40 years after the Stonewall riots, LGBT people in many parts of the world remain subject to discrimination and violence; according to ILGA, homosexuality is a criminal offence in 80 countries.

“We believe that by placing the struggle for equality in officially homophobic countries in the context of fundamental notions of equality and by forging links with other equality campaigners, LGBT advocates may be more successful.

“ERT is currently examining how this approach can be used to promote greater respect for LGBT rights in Islamic countries by showing how the concept of equality already embedded in their traditions should be extended to LGBT people.

“I believe that it is the responsibility of all equality advocates around the world to demonstrate solidarity with LGBT people by including LGBT concerns in their advocacy efforts and pressing on governments to ensure equal rights for LGBT persons.

“So as we mark this anniversary, I hope that others will join me in expressing this unity of purpose.”


1. The Stonewall riots were a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations against a police raid that took place in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969 at the Stonewall Inn, in the Greenwich Village neighbourhood of New York City. They are frequently cited as marking the start of the gay rights movement in the United States and around the world.

2. The Equal Rights Trust is an advocacy organisation, resource centre & think tank which exists to “combat discrimination and promote equality as a fundamental human right and a basic principle of social justice”. It is the only international human rights organisation focussed on the right to equality as such.

3. In October 2008, ERT launched the Declaration of Principles on Equality. Drafted and signed by 128 human rights experts from 44 different countries, the Declaration represents the first international attempt to define the right to equality and the basic concepts which support it.

4. The Declaration takes as its starting point the opening words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that ‘all people are born free and equal in dignity and rights’. The drafters sought to establish a positive, free-standing right to equality inherent to all, moving beyond the scope of traditional rights to non-discrimination on various grounds which have developed in many places.

5. For more information about the Equal Rights Trust or the Declaration of Principles on Equality, go to: www.equalrightstrust.org.uk