Human Rights Day 2010

A New Passage to India: Can the U.S. and India Forge a Human Rights Partnership on LGBT Rights?

By Arvind Narrain and Mark Bromley

President Obama described his journey to India last month as the dawn of “one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century.”  And when confronted by human rights abuse, he reminded, “it is the responsibility of the international community—especially leaders like the United States and India—to condemn it.”

On this Human Rights Day (December 10), our countries should commit to a new partnership to protect those who are persecuted worldwide because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.  This is the latest chapter in the modern human rights struggle, and in Obama’s words, it is time to “put aside old habits and attitudes.”

The United States and India are late in joining the struggle.  Our courts propelled us forward, through legal decisions in the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003 and in the High Court of Delhi in 2009 that invalidated homosexual sodomy laws in each country. We now have an opportunity to turn those legal battles into larger human rights commitments, and to use them to frame difficult dialogues with other countries that continue to oppress their LGBT citizens. Continue Reading

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