By Kim Han-joo
SEOUL, May 17 (Yonhap) -- The National Human Rights Commission on Tuesday called for an end to discrimination and hatred against sexual minorities, or lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI), in a statement marking the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.
The day was created in 2004 to draw attention to the violence and discrimination experienced by the LGBTI community. It is currently recognized in more than 130 countries.
Song Doo-hwan, chief of the rights watchdog, said in the statement the LGBTI community is still suffering from hatred and discrimination, citing the example of a deceased transgender soldier forcibly discharged from the military after having gender-confirmation surgery.
The soldier, Byun Hee-soo, was found dead in an apparent suicide in March last year.
"We have recently witnessed the deaths of those who have made sacrifices for the rights of sexual minorities," Song said.
The agency reaffirmed its commitment to respect and protect the equal enjoyment of human rights for the LGBTI community, just like other members of society.
The commission promised to pay extra attention and make efforts to combat discrimination and hatred based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
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