By many indications, the new United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will be a strong champion for LGBT people.

The U.N.’s LGBT initiative, Free & Equal, released the following quote from Guterres:

“I appeal to all governments and societies to promote the values of tolerance and respect for diversity, and to build a world where no has to be afraid because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.”

Guterres, 67, was appointed by acclamation on Oct. 13 to serve as the U.N.’s next secretary general. He replaces Ban Ki-moon of South Korea.

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Guterres served as Prime Minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002 and leader of the European nation’s Socialist Party.

Portugal decriminalized homosexuality in 1982 and officially recognized same-sex marriage in 2010.

Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., tweeted her support of Guterres throughout the confirmation process.

“He knows the measure of our work is whether we help real people,” Power tweeted.

One of Guterres’ signature diplomatic feats was his role in negotiating the trade sovereignty of Macau, a former Portuguese colony, to Chinese control in 1999.


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