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.