The Free & Equal campaign was conceived and developed by the UN Human Rights Office and it will be implemented in partnership with the Purpose Foundation, which is a non-profit organization that develops global social-media driven campaigns on human rights issues. Although largely promoted as a campaign to improve LGBT rights, during its launch, South African Constitutional Court Justice Edwin Cameron referred to the campaign as also including intersex people (LGBTI rights).
Free & Equal has already delivered several resources to further its aim and a number of celebrities have pledged their support for this work in order to improve LGBT rights. This includes musician Ricky Martin, South African singer Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Bollywood actress Celina Jaitly, Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho, and Brazilian singer Daniela Mercury.
LGBT rights: “critical right now”
During the launch of Free & Equal in South Africa the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pivally, said an LGBT rights campaign like this is “…critical right now because of the enormous human rights violations suffered by LGBT people…in more than a third of the world’s countries consensual same-sex conduct remains a criminal offence.”
Peace icon Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who helped launched the campaign, said: “I cannot worship a homophobic God” and South African Constitutional Court Justice Edwin Cameron said: “This campaign is timely. It is essential. May it become a source of light and … may it also become … a claiming of humanity for people who are LGBTI but also may it be a claiming of humanity for people who are not LGBTI because in denying our humanity you deny your own.”