Archive for June, 2013



European Parliament Condemns Russia’s Federal Censorship Law

480px-Moscow_Russia_Flag_and_Hammer_and_SickleRepost from The European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBT Rights

Yesterday the European Parliament adopted a resolution condemning the “anti-propaganda” law voted in Russia’s federal Duma earlier this week.

In the resolution on the rule of law in Russia they adopted yesterday, Members of the European Parliament noted that ”[Russian] federal authorities have done nothing to stop discriminatory legislation banning ‘homosexual propaganda’ from coming into effect in nine regions of Russia”.

It also condemned the adoption of such a law at the federal level.

The Parliament is “deeply concerned by the negative consequences of the adoption of a federal law on ‘homosexual propaganda’, which could increase discrimination and violence against LGBTI individuals”.

The Council of Europe also condemned Russia’s new laws, which unduly restrict free speech in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity.

Last year the UN Human Rights Committee ruled that these laws breached the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ratified by Russia.

Michael Cashman MEP, Co-President of the LGBT Intergroup, said in the plenary that the laws were “part of a wider systematic crackdown on LGBTI organisations and civil society” in general. He added that “hate speech from Putin and others had resulted in the barbaric killing of gay men” recently.

“This is unacceptable and uncivilised. The EU must continue to systematically express its strongest opposition to laws that restrict freedom of expression”, especially in such a discriminatory way, he said.

Ulrike Lunacek MEP, Also Co-President of the LGBT Intergroup, added: “Not a month passes without Russia becoming less and less of a democracy. In addition to the propaganda law, the ‘Foreign Agents’ law also places undue pressure on NGOs.”

“Vladimir Putin and Dmitri Medvedev are the most dangerous same-sex couple in Europe these days; the EU and the Council of Europe need to up the pressure against Russia after these terrible laws are passed.”

Last week, the LGBT Intergroup hosted a seminar on these laws and how the EU should react to them.

Read more on Russia from the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBT Rights

Bringing LGBT Health Care to the World Health Organization

Repost from The Huffington Post

Around the world lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals face worse health outcomes than the general population. We know the problem is in part due to the barriers they face to accessing health care. But because there is relatively little health research on this population globally, the true scope of the global burden is difficult to calculate.

These barriers range from denial of care, to inadequate or substandard care, to simply an unwillingness to go to a doctor because of discrimination or, in some countries, criminal penalties. Data confirms that within the community there are higher rates of depression and substance abuse; lesbian and bisexual women are at a greater risk of obesity and breast cancer; gay men are at higher risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections; elderly LGBT individuals face additional barriers to health because of isolation; and transgender individuals have higher rates of alcohol and tobacco use, are at higher risk for heart disease and are less likely to have health insurance than heterosexual or LGB individuals.

The World Health Organization (WHO) — the health body of the United Nations — has led efforts to reduce health disparities for women, ethnic, racial and religious minorities, those with disabilities, and others who have struggled to attain the health care they need. We think it is timely for WHO to take this same leadership role for the LGBT population. During the May 2013 WHO Executive Board meeting, the topic of what WHO should be doing on this front was scheduled to be discussed. Continue Reading

Dr. Daniel Baer nominated to serve as U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)

Deputy Assistant Secretary Dan Baer, United States State Department

The Council for Global Equality is delighted to note that Dr. Daniel Baer, Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Democracy Human Rights and Labor, has been nominated to serve as U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) based in Vienna. The OSCE is a multilateral organization that has a unique security perspective that recognizes that respect for human rights must be a cornerstone of security in our interconnected world. The OSCE brings countries from Asia, Europe and North America together to discuss shared security commitments, including commitments to safeguarding fundamental rights to freedom of association and expression and to respond to hate violence across the region.

Mark Bromley, Chair of the Council for Global Equality, noted that: “In recent years, the OSCE has provided an important forum to denounce LGBT hate crimes and restrictions on LGBT organizations. As a strong champion of human rights for all, and an openly gay man who has stood firmly for equal treatment for LGBT individuals globally, we are delighted by this appointment and hope the U.S. Senate will act quickly to confirm him. Anti-LGBT measures are sweeping across Eastern Europe, including this week in Russia, and we know that Dan will be uniquely positioned to speak out against these threats to human rights and human security in Europe.”

Secretary Kerry Video Remarks Celebrating LGBT Pride Month

Transcript of video remarks:

Hello! I wanted to take a moment to join people around the world in celebrating Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride month.

This month is about the assertion of equality and dignity. It is about the affirmation of fundamental freedoms and human rights. It is about people taking pride in who they are, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity. Protecting universal human rights is at the very heart of our diplomacy, and we remain committed to advancing human rights for all, including LGBT individuals. We are committed to advancing these rights not just in the month of June, but year-round.

As Secretary, I join with my colleagues at our embassies, consulates, and USAID missions around the world in saying, no matter where you are, and no matter who you love, we stand with you.

Across the globe – in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas – our diplomats are assisting local LGBT organizations and supporting local human rights advocates working to promote equality, create dialogue, and ensure protections for LGBT individuals.

Through the Global Equality Fund, the State Department has already provided critical emergency and long-term assistance to promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons in over twenty-five countries. And our support will continue to grow, in cooperation with other equality-minded governments, foundations and corporations.

Forty-four years after Stonewall, we see incredible progress in the fight to advance the human rights and fundamental freedoms of LGBT people, both here in the United States and globally. Unfortunately, our work is not done. Recent events underscore that despite progress, we still have a long way to go. There are LGBT people of all ages, all races, and all faiths – citizens of every country on Earth. And in too many places, LGBT people and their supporters are being attacked and harassed for simply being who they are and for standing up for their rights.

The United States condemns all such violence, harassment, and discrimination. As President Obama said, “the struggle to end discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons is a global challenge, and one that is central to the United States’ commitment to promoting human rights.” LGBT persons must be free to exercise their human rights – including freedom of expression, freedom of religion, and freedom of assembly and association – without fear of reprisal.

It is my honor to reaffirm the State Department’s commitment to promoting the human rights of LGBT persons, and indeed all human beings, worldwide.

To those celebrating Pride in the United States and around the world, I wish you all a Happy Pride month.

LGBT Groups Applaud Naming of Ambassador Susan Rice and Samantha Power to New Posts

Susan Rice and Samantha PowerJune 5, 2013 – The Council for Global Equality and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) applaud President Obama’s decision to name Ambassador Susan Rice, who currently serves as the United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations, as his new national security adviser and to nominate Samantha Power, a longtime friend of the human rights community, to take her place as the next U.S. Ambassador to the UN.

Mark Bromley, Chair of the Council for Global Equality, said: “We were pleased to honor Ambassador Rice with our Global Equality Award last year in recognition of her leadership and stalwart support for LGBT rights at the United Nations.  And the announcement today was certainly a double hit, as Samantha Power, who was nominated to take her place and serve as our next UN Ambassador, has been a great friend of LGBT rights – and of human rights for all – at the White House.  We couldn’t think of two stronger LGBT allies in the foreign policy world.”

Jessica Stern, Executive Director of IGLHRC, said, “Samantha Power has a proven track-record of support for US policies that affirm LGBT rights around the world, including by championing the first-ever strategic approach to LGBT rights in US foreign policy with the 2011 Presidential Memorandum.”[1]  Likewise, Stern noted, “Ambassador Rice has transformed the US’s engagement with LGBT rights at the UN, not only by fighting for IGLHRC to receive official UN accreditation but by fighting for every LGBT organization to receive the same opportunity.  Furthermore, her commitment to the issue resulted in the landmark decision of the UN General Assembly to condemn extrajudicial or arbitrary killings based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”

In accepting the Global Equality award last year, Ambassador Rice noted that, “I am truly honored to receive this recognition, because LGBT rights has been one of my personal passions throughout my tenure at the United Nations and long before.”  She emphasized, “LGBT individuals around the world have sacrificed so much – including in some cases their lives – to seek and obtain their basic human rights.”

With the strong leadership of Ambassador Rice and Samantha Power over the past four years, the United States has finally joined governments from around the world in condemning violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and helping to institutionalize these long-neglected rights on the UN agenda.  The Council for Global Equality and IGLHRC look forward to working with Ambassador Rice and Samantha Power in their new positions as we continue to engage with the Obama Administration to advance global equality.

LGBT Pride Month Statement for Secretary of State John Kerry

John Kerry LGBT Pride MonthThe Department of State joins people around the world in celebrating Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month. Forty-four years after Stonewall, we see incredible progress in the fight to advance the human rights and fundamental freedoms of LGBT people, both here in the United States and globally. Protecting universal human rights is at the very heart of our diplomacy, and we remain committed to advancing human rights for all, including LGBT individuals.

Unfortunately, recent events underscore that we can’t be content with the progress we’ve made. We still have a long way to go. All over the world, people continue to be killed, arrested, and harassed simply because of who they are, or who they love. There are LGBT people of all ages, all races and all faiths, citizens of every country on Earth. In too many places, LGBT people and their supporters are still attacked if they just attempt to stand up for their rights and participate in peaceful rallies or marches, or simply for being who they are.

The United States condemns this violence and harassment. LGBT persons must be free to exercise their human rights—including freedom of expression, freedom of religion and freedom of assembly and association—without fear of reprisal. Human rights and fundamental freedoms belong to all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The United States will continue to stand up for the human rights of all people, during this month and every month throughout the year, and we are proud to do so.

30 Colombian LGBT activists attend training

Wilson Castañeda, Caribe Afirmativo. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Wilson Castañeda, Caribe Afirmativo. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Repost from The Washington Blade

BOGOTÁ, Colombia — Roughly 30 activists from across Colombia attended a four-day training in the Colombian capital from May 30-June 2 designed to encourage LGBT people to become more involved in the country’s political process.

The program, which was coordinated by the Gay and Lesbian Victory Institute and the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, was the first to take place as part of the USAID-backed LGBT Global Development Partnership that will contribute $11 million over the next four years to advocacy groups in neighboring Ecuador and other developing countries. Continue Reading


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