Posts Tagged 'Hilary Clinton'



Judy and Dennis Shepard Speak Up for LGBT Rights in Europe

Judy and Dennis Shepard Speak Up for LGBT Rights in EuropeRepost from DipNote Blog by Frankie Sturm, Deputy Cultural Attache at U.S. Embassy Warsaw in Poland.

Sitting down to dinner to wrap up two jam-packed days of outreach by Judy and Dennis Shepard in Poland to parents of LGBT individuals, non-governmental organizations, parliamentarians, TV reporters, and others, I was struck by how universally their story resonates even thousands of miles from the United States.

As co-founders of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, Judy and Dennis have worked tirelessly to expand LGBT rights and protections through the legal system, while changing hearts and minds by telling the tragic story of their son’s murder due to hate and intolerance.

The State Department is proud to be sponsoring the Shepards on a five-country, two week-plus European outreach trip. The Shepards’ tour includes stops in Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Hungary, and Germany. Continue Reading

 

Secretary Hillary Clinton accepts the World LGBT Award from World Pride

Exclusive LGBT Pride Interview with Tara Sonenshine, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy

Repost from The New Civil Rights Movement

by Tanya Domi

Under Secretary of State Tara D. Sonenshine, who is the chief of public diplomacy and public affairs at the State Department, gave an exclusive interview to The New Civil Rights Movementthis week on the occasion of LGBT Pride month Sonenshine, who came to the State Department from the U.S. Institute of Peace as the Executive Vice-President, has a distinguished career in communications and government, including an award winning tenure in television journalism at ABC’s Nightline as a producer and reporter where she garnered 10 Emmy news awards.  She was sworn in on April 24th and  is the seventh person to hold this position.

Just two months into her tenure, the savvy social media under secretary can be found on Twitter @Tsonenshine.  This week she makes her inaugural debut in a live global  tweet on Wednesday, June 27, 11:00 a.m. EDT. Using @StateDept with hashtag #AskState or @USAenEspanol using hashtag #AskUSA (seven other languages will also be accessible), interested followers can ask Sonenshine questions about the State Department and her responsibilities. Continue reading

Secretary Clinton Delivers a Video Message for Pride Month

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivers a video message for Pride Month. A text transcript can be found at http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2012/06/192136.htm.

Activist discusses impact of Obama’s gay marriage support

Courtesy: American Embassy

Repost from The Japan Times

By AYAKO MIEStaff writer

The recent endorsement of gay marriage by U.S. President Barack Obama was a milestone for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and could gain more support among younger voters who already overwhelmingly back same-sex marriages, according to a prominent American gay rights activist.

“I am optimistic that the polling is going to show eventually that it’s going to have a minimum impact on actual votes, and eventually gain some ground,” Bromley said during a news conference at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo.Mark Bromley, chairman of the Council for Global Equality, a 21-group coalition seeking a clearer and stronger U.S. position on global LGBT issues, said Monday in Tokyo that while same-sex marriage would be an issue in the U.S. presidential campaign, it would not take center stage in a way that it could hurt the re-election chances of Obama, who in May became the first sitting U.S. leader to support gay marriage.

Bromley’s Tokyo visit was part of a push by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to celebrate LGBT Pride Month in June at U.S. embassies worldwide. Continue reading ‘Activist discusses impact of Obama’s gay marriage support’

Widespread Pattern of Abuses Against LGBT People Worldwide

Washington, DC – May 25, 2012 – The Department of State’s 2011 Human Rights Report, released yesterday, catalogues an ongoing range of abuses and discriminatory treatment directed at lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people worldwide – starkly underscoring what Secretary Hillary Clinton has called “…one of the remaining human rights challenges of our time.”

Speaking in Geneva last December, Secretary Clinton noted that, too often, LGBT people remain an “invisible minority,” members of which “…are arrested, beaten, terrorized, even executed…” while “…authorities empowered to protect them look the other way or, too often, even join in the abuse.”

The newly released report bears witness to such abuse.  Most disturbingly, it documents that police, other government security forces, and prison personnel have been implicated directly in the harassment or abuse of LGBT citizens in a range of countries, including (but not limited to) Afghanistan, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, El Salvador, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Kuwait, Kyrgyz Republic, and Panama.  Harassment and abuse often were directed in particular at transgender individuals.  In Turkey, a range of LGBT organizations complained of harassment by police and government authorities.  In Cote d’Ivoire, the report notes that “gay men were reportedly subjected to beatings, imprisonment, verbal abuse, humiliation, and extortion by police, gendarmes, and members of the armed forces.”

The report also describes broader patterns of discrimination against LGBT individuals in many areas of the world.  In Sierra Leone and India, LGBT people have been denied basic social services, from health services to housing.  In Botswana and many other countries, governments failed to register LGBT advocacy groups or recognize their status as legitimate civil society organizations.  In Russia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and elsewhere, LGBT employees have been driven from their jobs, or faced discrimination in hiring, because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.  In Nigeria, local authorities again failed to take any legal action against persons who stoned and beat members of the House of Rainbow Metropolitan Community Church, an LGBT-affirming church in Lagos in 2008.  During the past year, church parishioners and clergy continued to receive threatening e-mail messages, phone calls and letters.

The report notes that in South Africa, the country’s largest LGBT organization received in Cape Town alone an average of 10 new cases every week of lesbians being targeted for “corrective rape.”  This disturbing trend also was noted in other countries, where men raped lesbians “to punish them for being lesbian and to attempt to change their sexual orientation.”

Finally, various reports include instances in which the internet has been a source of discrimination against LGBT people. These include Oman, where authorities took measures to block LGBT related content from the internet, and Iran, which monitored internet websites for information on LGBT individuals.

The Council is grateful to our Foreign Service personnel who understand that, as Secretary Clinton has said, LGBT rights are, in fact, human rights.  We urge that the State Department and Congress work together to carry out a serious, sustained and purposeful dialogue with governing officials in all countries, as identified in the Department’s report, that have failed to recognize this essential reality, with a goal of ensuring that LGBT people are treated with the dignity, fairness, and equality to which all people should be entitled.  We further urge ongoing scrutiny of the degree to which foreign governments respect and honor the rights of their LGBT citizens, in keeping with the democratic and human rights principles on which U.S. foreign policy should be based.

Excerpts of the report’s findings on LGBT issues in every country can be downloaded here.

Secretary Clinton To Release Annual Human Rights Reports

On May 24, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Michael Posner will release the 2011 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices at 10:30 a.m. in the Department of State Press Briefing Room. The Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, commonly known as the Human Rights Reports, cover the status of human rights in countries around the world.

The Council for Global Equality will continue its annual compendium of report references to human rights abuses based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The compendium will be posted here and on our website.

To view last years compendium click here

Council Releases NGO Guide to Human Rights

In Recognition of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO):

Washington, DC – May 17, 2012 – The Council released a new NGO guide, Accessing U.S. Embassies: A Guide for LGBT Human Rights Defenders, to mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO).

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The guide highlights the various diplomatic tools that U.S. embassies use to advance a range of human rights and development objectives, from diplomatic “démarches,” to support for LGBT refugees to the drafting of the annual human rights report that is required of every U.S. embassy.  It also looks at various opportunities that exist for U.S. embassies to support, both technically and financially, LGBT advocates in host countries.

The guide recognizes that U.S. embassies around the world have traditionally reached out to civil society organizations and local human rights defenders to support a broad human rights agenda.  Until recently, however, U.S. embassies rarely included LGBT civil society organizations or defenders in their outreach.  That has now changed, and U.S. embassies are reaching out to local LGBT groups to learn more about the human rights abuses that LGBT communities experience, and to explore opportunities to partner with civil society to address those abuses.

The guide points out that U.S. embassy support for the human rights and human dignity of LGBT communities reflects, in part, America’s attempt to promote fundamental freedoms of speech, assembly and expression.  As such, the guide helps human rights defenders in other countries ground their requests in language that relates back to freedoms rooted in America’s Constitution, and that enjoy strong bipartisan support even amid other debates in Washington.

While focusing on the needs of one particularly invisible and at-risk group of human rights defenders, the Council also uses the guide to paint a broad justification for the inclusion of LGBT groups in U.S. human rights policy.   When U.S. embassies use the diplomatic, economic and political tools that are available to them to promote the rights and social inclusion of marginalized communities, including LGBT individuals, they stand firmly for human rights, but they also help foster tolerant, democratic and diverse societies that make better diplomatic allies and stronger economic partners over the longer term.


LGBTs have a voice in foreign affairs

Michael Guest, The Council for Global EqualityOp-Ed as it appears in the Bay Area Reporter, written by The Council for Global Equality, Senior Advisor, Michael Guest

When it comes to the rights of LGBT people abroad, you don’t have to look back very far to see the future.

David Bahati is at it again, reintroducing in Uganda’s parliament legislation that, in extreme cases, would put gay people to death for having same-sex relationships. Bahati’s unamended hate bill already has sailed through a first reading, and although it now has been sent back to committee for further review, volatility in Uganda’s politics underscore that it would be a mistake to assume the bill will remain bottled up.

Uganda is hardly the only place where anti-gay intolerance and discrimination is on the march. Only last week, Cameroon’s police forces arrested another 10 women, merely on the suspicion that they are lesbians. A newly introduced bill in Liberia would make homosexuality a felony, with prison sentences of up to 10 years. Nigeria’s Senate passed a bill late last year to penalize more severely not only gay relationships, but human rights defenders who work on behalf of gay rights; its lower house appears poised to bring this legislation into law. And in St. Petersburg, Russia, a bill that would sharply circumscribe the freedom of expression for LGBT people has sailed through its third hearing. Continue reading ‘LGBTs have a voice in foreign affairs’

Working Toward Policy Coherence

The Council for Global Equality - Working Toward Policy CoherenceU.S. assistance programs must, like overall U.S. foreign policy, be grounded in U.S. principles.  We believe it a moral imperative that our assistance programs embrace the rights and needs of marginalized communities, including LGBT people, as a reflection of our country’s historical support both for equality of treatment and opportunity, and for governments that are responsive to the needs of their people.

But including LGBT people in USG assistance programs is also a matter of policy coherence, and of policy effectiveness.  Good governance programs can’t logically avoid the problems that LGBT and other marginalized and targeted minorities often face in government access and fair treatment.  Economic opportunity programs, such as micro-credit grants and other tools to encourage entrepreneurial development, need to empower whole communities to have maximum impact.  Health programs, and programs aimed at poverty reduction, cannot fully succeed if they skirt a portion of the population.  Educational opportunities, including job skills and business training, are critical for this population, since stigma and discrimination cause LGBT youth to disproportionately drop out of school.  Civil societies are only as strong as their most marginalized component.  And programs aimed at strengthening justice and the rule of law cannot live up to their own promise if they fail to include the abuses that LGBT people often face abroad. Continue reading ‘Working Toward Policy Coherence’


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