Archive for January, 2012

DeMint wrong on gay rights

Repost from the Post and Courrier

Written by Michael Guest, Senior Advisor to The Council for Global Equality

The contrast could not be starker.

In a Human Rights Day speech in Geneva last month, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton placed the treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people worldwide within the broader international framework of universal human rights.

Later that month in Washington, the nomination of Maria Carmen Aponte as U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador was voted down — partly over objections that she had followed administration policy in defending the fundamental freedoms of LGBT people in that country.

Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., led the Republican onslaught against Aponte, whose initial nomination he opposed a year ago on entirely different grounds.

That shift of reasoning, of course, raises questions as to his true motivation.

But he and others who blocked Aponte’s nomination would do well to read Clinton’s speech.

“Some have suggested that gay rights and human rights are separate and distinct; but, in fact, they are one and the same,” she said. “… Being LGBT does not make you less human. And that is why gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights.” Continue reading ‘DeMint wrong on gay rights’

Watch Ban Ki-moon tell leaders at the AU that they must respect gay rights

Ban Ki-Moon: Africa Leaders Should Respect Gay Rights

Ban Ki-Moon: Africa Leaders Should Respect Gay RightsRepost from Huffington Post

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says African nations should stop treating gays as “second-class citizens, or even criminals”.

Ban told African leaders that gathered in Ethiopia’s capital on Sunday for an African Union summit that discrimination based on sexual orientation “had been ignored or even sanctioned by many states for far too long”.

Ban said it would be challenging for Africa to “confront this discrimination”. There was no immediate response from African heads of states to Ban’s speech. Many African countries outlaw homosexuality and many African churches preach against it.

Immigration Equality Hails New Government Training Module

Repost from Council Member: Immigration Equality

For Immediate Release

January 24, 2012

Contact: Steve Ralls (202) 347-7007 / sralls@immigrationequality.org

Immigration Equality Hails New Government Training Module for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Intersex Asylum Claims USCIS Guidance is First Comprehensive LGBTI Training Guide for Asylum Officers

Washington, DC – Immigration Equality, a national legal aid and advocacy organization, hailed today’s release of a newly-created training module, “Guidance for Adjudicating Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) Refugee and Asylum Claims” by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The guidance, which follows two years of coordination between USCIS and Immigration Equality, instructs asylum officers on substantive aspects of the law and highlights the unique difficulties that LGBTI claimants may experience in articulating their claims for asylum. Continue reading ‘Immigration Equality Hails New Government Training Module’

Community Call with Deputy Assistant Secretary Dan Baer

Deputy Assistant Secretary Dan Baer, United States State DepartmentJoin the Council for Global Equality on January 26 at 12 PM (EST) for a community briefing call with Deputy Assistant Secretary Dan Baer, who will discuss the impact of Secretary Clinton’s historic speech last month at the UN in Geneva on human rights for LGBT communities everywhere.

Deputy Assistant Secretary Baer will discuss the ways in which the State Department is working with U.S. embassies and consulates to highlight the speech and implement a new Presidential Memorandum, issued by the White House on the same day, that directs all U.S. “agencies engaged abroad to ensure that diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons.”

To RSVP for this call please click here.

Achieving an AIDS-Free Generation for Gay Men and Other MSM

amFAR John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health  Achieving an AIDS-Free Generation for Gay Men and Other MSDownload Reports in PDF format below

For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
Cub Barrett, Program Communications Manager
(212) 806-1602

NEW YORK, January 18, 2012—Funding to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS consistently fails to reach programs designed to control the disease among gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM), according to a new analysis released Wednesday by amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research and the Center for Public Health and Human Rights (CPHHR) at Johns Hopkins University. The report finds that resources dedicated to addressing the epidemic among MSM are grossly insufficient, and that funding intended for this population is often diverted away from MSM-related services.

Despite Obama Administration leadership in setting bold new targets to tackle global AIDS and highlight the human rights of MSM and other sexual minorities, U.S. government aid intended to prevent and treat HIV infection among MSM continues to encounter obstacles throughout the world.

The new report, “Achieving an AIDS-Free Generation for Gay Men and Other MSM,” provides the most comprehensive analysis to date of HIV-related funding and programming for this population. Focusing on eight countries, the report finds that national governments have failed to adequately tackle the epidemic among MSM. The findings are especially dire in countries that criminalize MSM. In those settings, governments spend fewer resources on HIV-related health services for MSM, do less to track and understand the epidemic, and are more likely to repurpose donor funds intended to fight the epidemic among MSM. Continue reading ‘Achieving an AIDS-Free Generation for Gay Men and Other MSM’

Honduras is test of new U.S. policy on gay rights

Honduras LGBT RIghts

Photo: Johny Magallanes / MCT

Repost from the Miami Herald

by Tim Johnson

SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras — From U.N. chambers to the halls of the State Department, global pressure on countries to protect the rights of gay and transgender people is rising.

For Josue Hernandez, the new emphasis can’t come fast enough.

The 33-year-old gay activist bears the scar of the bullet that grazed his skull in an attack a few years ago. He’s moved the office of his advocacy group four times. Still, he feels hunted in what is arguably the most homophobic nation in the Americas.

“We are in a deplorable state,” Hernandez said of gays in Honduras. “When we walk the streets, people shout insults at us and throw rocks. Parents move their children away.”

Three months ago, a U.N. report declared that discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people — or LGBT — violates core international human rights law. It listed nations where violations are most severe.

Joining a push that originated in Europe, the Obama administration said in December that respect for LGBT rights is now a factor in its foreign policy decisions.

United States Issues UN Report on Its Own Human Rights Conditions

United States Issues UN Report on Its Own Human Rights ConditionsOn December 30, the United States submitted its fourth periodic report to the United Nations Committee on Human Rights concerning the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which is one of the most important human rights treaties that the United States has ratified. In a major departure from a prior Bush Administration report, sexual orientation and gender identity issues featured prominently in this current submission, with an honest and reflective perspective on the state of LGBT rights in the United States. The report chronicles recent progress made to advance LGBT equality at the federal and state levels, including the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the passage of hate crime legislation, support for a variety of family recognition mechanisms, and the legal recognition of gender identity discrimination in the workplace.

When the United States presented its last report to the Committee on Human Rights in 2006, the U.S. delegation tried to deny the application of longstanding sexual orientation and gender identity protections under the ICCPR, even though the Committee has recognized rights to privacy and non-discrimination for LGBT individuals since at least 1992.  During that 2006 review, a member of the UN Committee noted publicly that the U.S. delegation, which included the head of the civil rights division of the U.S. Justice Department, demonstrated a lack of awareness of the “longstanding and consistent” jurisprudence of the Committee on these issues.  The UN expert expressed his concern that by denying the existence of these rights under the ICCPR, the U.S. government might suggest that persons of diverse sexual orientations and identities are not fully entitled to the rights to life and privacy under the treaty.  In contrast, by reporting so extensively on LGBT-related concerns in this current UN report, the Obama Administration has now made an unequivocal legal statement recognizing that international law protects the human rights of all individuals, including on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.  Indeed, this is the legal justification for Secretary Clinton’s emphatic assertion that “human rights are gay rights and gay rights are human rights, once and for all.” Continue reading ‘United States Issues UN Report on Its Own Human Rights Conditions’


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