London (CNN)Hundreds of religious leaders have joined forces to push for a global ban on gay conversion therapies, treatments that claim to be able to change a person's sexual orientation or identity.
Religious leaders call for global ban on so-called gay conversion therapies
More than 370 figures from the world's main religions have signed the declaration, which also calls for an end to violence against and the criminalization of LGBT+ people, according to a press release published Wednesday.
The declaration marks the launch of the Global Interfaith Commission on LGBT+ Lives, backed by key figures from 35 countries, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former Chief Rabbi of Ireland David Rosen and former Irish President Mary McAleese.
So-called conversion therapies, also known as reparative treatments, rely on the assumption that sexual orientation can be changed or "cured" -- an idea discredited by major medical associations in the UK, the United States and elsewhere.
However they remain legal in many countries, including the UK, despite the country's current government committing to end the practice.
In July 2020, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced he would fast-track these plans, and the UK's Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office funded an online conference marking the launch of the commission Wednesday.
Jayne Ozanne, director of the Global Interfaith Commission on LGBT+ Lives, said the declaration is a landmark.
"We've never had such a powerful, clear and supportive statement from so many leaders," Ozanne told CNN.
She called on politicians to act to ban conversion therapy.
"I do not think that any government can be deaf to the cries of survivors," she said, adding that people are still being traumatized while politicians dally.
"We need to act with some urgency," Ozanne said.
Campaigners also released a video of the declaration, featuring senior religious leaders such as the Right Reverend Paul Bayes, the Bishop of Liverpool.
"For too long, religious teachings have been misused -- and are still being misused -- to cause deep pain and offence to those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex," said Bayes in the press release.