Posts Tagged 'David Cicilline'

House LGBT Caucus Commends Foreign Affairs Committee Approval of Bipartisan Chechnya Resolution

Washington D.C.— The Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus commended the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) for passing H.Res.351, a bipartisan resolution condemning the detention, torture, and murders of gay and bisexual men in Chechnya.  H.Res.351 was introduced by LGBT Caucus founding member and former HFAC Chair Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27) on May 23rd and has 52 bipartisan cosponsors, including HFAC Chairman Rep. Ed Royce (CA-39) and Ranking Member and LGBT Caucus Member Rep. Eliot Engel (NY-16).  H.Res.351 passed in committee by a unanimous voice vote.

“This resolution demands that Russian and Chechen authorities end the violence against innocent men in Chechnya, and hold the perpetrators accountable.  The rights to personal safety, freedom of association and freedom from violence are universal values, regardless of a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, race, religion, or any other characteristic,” said LGBT Equality Caucus Co-Chair Rep. David Cicilline (RI-01).  “I commend Rep. Ros-Lehtinen for introducing this resolution and for her ongoing leadership on LGBT equality.  I also thank Chairman Royce and Ranking Member Engel for making passage of this resolution a priority and their dedication to ending this horrible situation in Chechnya.  We hope that Speaker Ryan will call a floor vote on this resolution and show the world that the United States is still a leader on human rights for all.”

Since early March, Chechen law enforcement officials have arrested and detained over 100 gay men in prisons, with reports of torture and starvation. Initial reports and confirmation by human rights organizations confirmed three deaths, with up to 20 deaths now reported. Both the U.S. State Department and US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley have condemned the reports. On April 7th, 2017, Rep. Cicilline and Rep. Alan Lowenthal (CA-47) led a bipartisan letter signed by 50 members of Congress calling on Secretary of State Tillerson to condemn the violence during his trip to Russia.

Please contact Roddy Flynn at 202-257-8416 or roddy.flynn@mail.house.gov with press inquiries.

The mission of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus is to promote lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) equality. The bi-partisan LGBT Equality Caucus is strongly committed to achieving the full enjoyment of human rights for LGBT people in the U.S. and around the world. By serving as a resource for Members of Congress, their staff, and the public on LGBT issues, the Caucus works toward the extension of equal rights, the repeal of discriminatory laws, the elimination of hate-motivated violence, and the improved health and wellbeing for all regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.

Ros-Lehtinen, Engel, Issa, Cicilline, Royce, and Smith Introduce Bipartisan Resolution on Violence in Chechnya

United States CongressMay 23, 2017

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, made the following statement after introducing bipartisan resolution, H. Res. 351, condemning the violence and persecution in Chechnya. Joining Ros-Lehtinen in introducing this resolution were U.S. Reps. Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), Darrell Issa (R-CA), David Cicilline (D-RI), Ed Royce (R-CA), and Chris Smith (R-NJ).

Click to read the full resolution

Statement by Rep. Ros-Lehtinen: “For over a month, hundreds of gay or perceived to be gay Chechens have been arrested, many have been tortured, and some even killed. This bipartisan resolution sends a clear message to Chechnya and Russia authorities and any oppressor that the U.S. will not stand idly while these human rights atrocities are being committed. The U.S. government needs to continue to speak up to help those who are being indiscriminately targeted, and we must pressure Russia to uphold its international commitment to prevent any further abuses from happening while perpetrators are brought to justice.”   

Statement by Rep. Engel: “We’ve heard chilling reports of authorities in Chechnya detaining, torturing, and even killing men from the LGBT community over the last several weeks. We are witnessing the unfolding of a horrific tragedy and it’s long past time that the Kremlin start protecting its own citizens—all of them—regardless of sexual orientation. That’s why I introduced this bipartisan resolution with my colleagues—to send a clear signal that Republicans and Democrats alike call on President Putin to respect and promote the dignity of all persons and provide safe haven for all those fleeing such horrific persecution.”

Engel Sends Bipartisan Letter to USAID Urging Funding for LGBT Rights in Central America

Rep. Eliot EnglePress Statement from Rep. Eliot L. Engel

MARCH 12, WASHINGTON, DC— Today, Representative Eliot L. Engel, the ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, was joined by Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Albio Sires (D-NJ), Richard Hanna (R-NY), David Cicilline (D-RI) and Chris Gibson (R-NY), in calling on the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to provide funding for the protection of the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals in the Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.

Specifically, the letter states that given the dangerous levels of crime and violence committed against LGBT individuals in these countries, existing Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) funding should be made available to LGBT human rights groups in the subregion. In Honduras alone, more than 90 LGBT people were killed between 2009 and 2012, and many others were victims of violence and harassment.

“As former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said, ‘Gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights.’ As we ramp up our country’s investment in Central America, we need to protect the subregion’s most vulnerable populations. This means protecting the basic human rights of LGBT individuals and ensuring that citizens of these countries are not killed or assaulted just because of who they are,” said Engel.

Read the letter here

Tammy Baldwin, Susan Collins, David Cicilline and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Pen Op-Ed “Human Rights Issues Pollute Olympic Spirit”

Repost from USA Today

Host countries should promote tolerance. IOC failed on this principle in picking Russia.

On Friday, the world will come together to open the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Sochi, Russia — a celebration of hard work and fair play, social responsibility, and international friendship. Every two years, the Olympic Games bring the world together, regardless of political ideology, to compete in feats of endurance, strength and sportsmanship. The issues that often divide our world seem to be suspended or even temporarily disappear during the Olympics. And instead of focusing on our differences, we come together as a global community to focus on what we have in common and our shared appreciation for our athletes and the games.

Although some individuals or groups have threatened to use the Games as an opportunity to wreak violence, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) continues to organize the Games to promote peace through sport — diplomacy through fierce, but friendly competition. In many ways, the IOC has been successful in its mission, as stated in the Olympic Charter, “to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of humankind.”

The Olympic Games are unparalleled in their ability to bring together people of diverse cultures and backgrounds, and to promote tolerance and acceptance of these differences. Fundamental Principle Six of the Olympic Charter explicitly prohibits “(a)ny form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise.” This principle reflects the basic human right of equality before the law — the idea that everyone enjoys the same basic human rights free of discrimination. Continue Reading

Sixty-two Members of Congress Call on the Ukrainian Parliament to Reject Anti-LGBT Legislation

Ukraine Parliament LGBT rightsWASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Representatives Eric Swalwell (CA-15), Joe Crowley (NY-14) and David Cicilline (RI-1) led a bipartisan letter to the Chairman of the Ukrainian Parliament expressing their concerns about draft Ukrainian laws that violate the fundamental human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and their allies – specifically the freedoms of assembly and expression.

Currently two discriminatory bills are pending in the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s Parliament. The bills prohibit “propaganda of same-sex sexual relations.”  If passed, the bills would ban sending out positive messages about being gay, whether through materials, the media or public gatherings like parades.  For example, the bills could restrict access to accurate information about HIV and AIDS.  Violators would face fines and up to six years in prison.

“Ukraine in recent decades has made significant strides and commitments to human rights, but these bills threaten to create an environment that condones state-sanctioned discrimination against LGBT people,” said Rep. Eric Swalwell.  “This is a clear violation of the fundamental freedoms that both of our countries respect and I urge the parliament to reject both of these bills.”

“These proposals are a chilling threat to not only the LGBT community, but all Ukrainian citizens who deserve to live in a society where the fundamental rights of speech, expression, peaceful assembly and equality are protected,” said Rep. Joe Crowley.

“As a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, I am deeply disappointed to see some elements of the Ukrainian government supporting discrimination against members of the LGBT community,” said Rep. David Cicilline.  “We should never excuse these sorts of regressive proposals, and I look forward to working further to ensure that human rights are fully embraced across the world.”

“The LGBT community in Ukraine has seen a significant increase in targeted violence since the introductions of these bills. With homophobia on the rise in Ukraine, it’s crucial that the legislature protects the rights and freedoms of all its citizens,” said Julie Dorf, Senior Advisor at the Council for Global Equality.

Click here to read the letter

Committee on Foreign Affairs of the U.S. Congress adopts LGBT provision

US-Senate-Committee-on-Foreign-RelationsJuly 20, 2001—The Committee on Foreign Affairs of the U.S. Congress adopted an amendment late on Thursday calling on “the Secretary of State to discourage foreign governments from condoning murder and other forms of physical violence that is directed against individuals because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”  The amendment was offered to the Foreign Relations Authorization bill by David Cicilline (D-RI), the openly gay former Mayor of Providence, who introduced it after two other more detailed LGBT amendments were rejected by the Committee along largely party line votes.

The two defeated amendments were offered by Cicilline and the Committee’s ranking Democrat, Howard Berman (D-CA).  Those provisions were rejected by Republicans, with the exception of the Chairman of the Committee, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), who broke with her party to support the LGBT language.  The debate was contentious, but after several procedural battles, a watered-down Cicilline amendment was adopted by voice vote.

The larger bill has some highly partisan provisions, including one that would reinstate the so-called “global gag rule” to prohibit funding for international reproductive health groups that provide abortion-related information, referrals or services overseas.  As such, it is not expected to pass both houses of Congress in its current form.

The newly adopted LGBT provision in the House bill sets a very low bar for international engagement, but the Council is pleased that it was supported by Republicans, including vocal support from the Republican Chairman, and that the Secretary of State has already committed to engage on these issues as important human rights priorities internationally.


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