A recent gathering of the U.N. General Assembly focused on the violence that is aimed at faced by LGBTQ communities around the world.

During the meeting Vitit Muntarbhorn spoke specifically about intolerance and the criminalization of homosexuality in more than seventy countries. Muntarbhorn has been appointed by the Human Rights Council as an independent expert on issues of violence and discrimination that are based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

“LGBT people are suffering a crucible of egregious violations, including killings, rape, mutilation, torture, arbitrary detention, abduction, harassment, physical and mental assaults,” Muntarbhorn said in his address. He continued by saying that “[t]hey are subjected to lashings and forced surgical interventions, bullying from a young age, incitement to hatred and pressures leading to suicide.” Muntarbhorn proposed that countries that criminalizes same-sex relationships “be removed from statute books” and that “no other legal measures should be used to target sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression for the purpose of consolidating power and suppressing dissent.”

However, countries such as Russia, Egypt, and Belarus have shown opposition to Muntarbhorn’s proposal. Nevertheless, progress has been shown and made by other nations specifically in Japan.