Archive for November, 2010

News from the Council for Global Equality

Read the November 2010 newsletter from the Council for Global Equality.

We’ve been busy this fall promoting a U.S. foreign policy inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity. I hope you’ll read more about our work and join us in promoting global equality today.

  • Council Celebrates Two Years of Advocacy
  • Council Meets with Under Secretary of State Maria Otero
  • US Record on LGBT Rights Reviewed at UN Human Rights Council
  • Council Facilitates Amsterdam Summit of National LGBT Groups
  • Council Raises LGBT Hate Crimes and Discrimination at Human Rights Conference in Warsaw
  • Are Multinational Corporations Caring More About Their LGBT Employees Around the World?

Gay Rights Are Human Rights

As posted on DipNote: U.S. Department of State Official Blog

About the Author: Maria Otero serves as Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs.

I remember meeting with Val from Uganda, an activist in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, last year. Val told me about how she and others activists in her country faced possible persecution for speaking out against policies that criminalized an entire class of people based on sexual orientation. I believe that we have a duty not only to speak out against harmful policies, but also to ensure that people like Val, who are trying to exercise their basic rights as human beings, are protected from possible violence.

Val’s story is never far from my mind and is one of the reasons I met yesterday with representatives of the Council for Global Equality, a coalition of 19 human rights organizations that advocate for a stronger U.S. government voice on behalf of the equality and fair treatment of LGBT individuals in the United States and overseas. We had an open and engaging discussion of the State Department’s efforts to elevate and integrate inclusion and protection of LGBT individuals into our human rights agenda. These efforts build upon the Obama Administration’s commitment to these issues, and further Secretary Clinton’s statement that “human rights are gay rights, and gay rights are human rights.”

Representatives from around the State Department offered their perspective on prioritizing this human rights issue among embassies around the world. The Bureau of African Affairs explained how it has responded to violence committed against the LGBT community in Uganda, Malawi, and elsewhere. The Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs outlined its work to incorporate LGBT protection into the agenda of the Organization of American States and explained how it seeks out regional partners, such as Brazil. The Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration explained its work with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to ensure protection for LGBT refugees, while our Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor described its work on training officers in the field, including plans to roll out a “toolkit” to human rights officers globally.

Led by Ambassador Michael Guest, a retired Foreign Service officer, the Council for Global Equality expressed its willingness for further cooperation and asked excellent questions about the reaction of our partner governments, opportunities for cooperation with European allies, priorities for foreign assistance, future public diplomacy opportunities around LGBT issues, and other important topics. We obviously have much more work to do in our human rights advocacy around LGBT issues, but I left feeling encouraged by these impressive and dedicated activists and their leadership. These are not single-issue advocates, but a group of dedicated human rights professionals who seem well-prepared to effectively carry their concerns into our democracy and overseas as an integrated part of our overall human rights diplomacy. And, hopefully, through our joint efforts, Val and others like her will be able to live freely and without fear of persecution.

You can view Secretary Clinton’s “It Gets Better” video and remarks here.

U.S. Falls Behind Other Nations on LGBT Issues

Geneva, November 5 – A high-level US government delegation today defended the country’s human rights record before the Human Rights Council at the UN in Geneva. In preparation for the review, the Council for Global Equality submitted a report to the US government and to the UN to emphasize the lack of rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans. The Council is pleased that during the meeting today, known as the “Universal Periodic Review,” the US government freely admitted that the US civil rights record is incomplete and that LGBT Americans are among those who are still fighting to achieve full equality.

More than 30 US officials, including senior officials from eleven US departments and agencies, traveled to the UN’s European headquarters to give the world “a partial snapshot” of the human rights situation in the United States. The official report that was submitted in advance of the review offers a candid discussion of LGBT rights, grounding the struggle to promote LGBT equality firmly within our country’s civil rights movement. The US report explains to the world that “in each era of our history there tends to be a group whose experience of discrimination illustrates the continuing debate among citizens about how we can build fair societies. In this era, one such group is LGBT Americans.” read the full press release here

Ambassador Michael Guest Interview at the 2010 OSCE Review Conference Warsaw, Poland (video)

From the U.S. Mission to the OSCE
As the OSCE Review Conference drew to a close, Head of the U.S. Delegation,  Ambassador Michael Guest, talks about the role of the OSCE, the value of such conferences, and the importance of Non-Governmental Organization access.

Stay Informed

Subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 265 other followers

Follow us on Twitter