The UN human rights office has launched its first global outreach campaign for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) equality, acccording to the organization's website
The July 26 start of the "Free and Equal" educational campaign comes amid a surge of antigay violence and repression in some parts of the world.
The yearlong effort was launched in Cape Town, South Africa.
"Changing attitudes is never easy, it begins with often difficult conversations," UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, who was in attendance, said.
"The Free and Equal campaign aims to raise awareness of homophobic and [anti-transgender] violence and discrimination," a statement from Pillay’s office said.
The worldwide campaign was prompted by a UN report published in December 2011 that documented widespread human rights abuses against members of LGBT communities.