Posts Tagged 'Hilary Clinton'



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.”

HIAS’ report, “Invisible in the City,” examines protection gaps facing LGBTI refugees

Invisible in the City: Protection Gaps Facing Sexual Minority Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Urban Ecuador, Ghana, Israel and KenyaRemarks
Anne C. Richard
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
Washington, DC
May 7, 2013

Thank you, Mark, and thank you to the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society for bringing us together today to celebrate this important research on LGBT refugees and asylum seekers. I’d also like to recognize Yiftach Millo, lead researcher and author of the study we are all here to officially launch, “Invisible in the City: Protection Gaps Experienced by Sexual Minority Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Urban Ecuador, Ghana, Israel, and Kenya.” I commend Mr. Millo and his team for their innovative work to help protect these refugees.

HIAS continues to be a leader in helping expose and address the barriers faced that confront lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and intersex refugees. HIAS’s energy and vision is helping us all to find solutions to a real and persistent problem. Refugees and asylum seekers are already in a precarious position – they are at risk of exploitation, attack, and destitution. A refugee who is also part of a sexual minority is at even greater risk.

It has been over 20 years since Fidel Armanda Tobos Alfonso, a gay man from Cuba, was allowed to remain in the United States based on a judgement or understanding that he was at risk because of his sexual orientation. The Toboso-Alfonso decision paved the way for hundreds of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals as well as individuals with intersex conditions, to obtain refuge and asylum in the United States.

From the beginning of his Administration, President Obama has promoted the equal rights of LGBT people both at home and abroad. His Memorandum of December 2011 affirmed United States’s commitment to promoting the human rights of sexual minorities and specifically directed U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance agencies to protect vulnerable LGBT refugees and asylum seekers. Continue reading ‘HIAS’ report, “Invisible in the City,” examines protection gaps facing LGBTI refugees’

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Supports Same-sex Marriage

Former U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, continues to champion human rights by supporting same-sex marriage. If you haven’t already heard what she has to say, watch the video below.

Heartfelt Praise to a National Leader

secclintonThere’ve been many encomia to Hillary Clinton over the last week, all richly deserved.  To these we add our own deep measure of heartfelt praise to a national leader whose energy and commitment in integrating the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people into U.S. foreign policy has shown a clear-eyed understanding that, as she said in her landmark December 2012 speech at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, “gay rights are human rights.”

Secretary Clinton’s four-year legacy in integrating LGBT rights into our country’s international human rights policy goes far beyond even the expectations framed by a rapidly changing recognition in this country that the equality of LGBT people is a moral imperative.  Under Clinton’s direction:

  • Annual human rights reports now include LGBT-specific sections, and a new “toolkit” is helping our embassy personnel address LGBT human rights issues in foreign countries and cultures;
  • Regional bureaus, particularly WHA and AF, have integrated LGBT equality goals into their work programs;
  • The Department’s public diplomacy tools – including speakers, international visitors, and other exchanges – are being used to increase international acceptance and understanding of LGBT people;
  • The Bureau of Consular Affairs has revised passport and reports of birth abroad forms to accommodate same-sex couples and parents, and has simplified the ability to change gender markers for passport issuance;
  • The Department has shown leadership in addressing LGBT human rights issues in the Human Rights Council, and at the United Nations in New York;
  • The Department’s Democracy Fund is being used to support LGBT civil society needs, and a new Global Equality Fund will expand that support in exciting new directions, in support of U.S. democratic and foreign assistance goals; and
  • The families of gay and lesbian Foreign Service personnel now enjoy the same benefits as those enjoyed by their straight counterparts.

These and other smaller, less-visible steps reflect Secretary Clinton’s clear-eyed appreciation that we, as a country, honor our founding principles of equality, fair play, and freedom only when those principles are applied universally to all minorities, all people.  The clarity and consistency of her call for other countries to respect the rights of LGBT people has lent new integrity to our human rights policy.  Equally, it has restored the credibility of government to many of us who have long waited for the leadership that Secretary Clinton has so admirably shown.

The Council has enjoyed a close partnership with many State Department political appointees whose immediate time in government service is over.  We look forward to working with them, and indeed with Secretary Clinton as well, in other capacities in the future.  However, Secretary Clinton’s strongest legacy is the Department she leaves behind:  one where career professionals understand that international LGBT rights are firmly included in what we as a country must advocate, and where those professionals feel it is politically safe to stand proudly for the inclusive values on which our country was founded.

For that as much as any of the specific accomplishments cited above, we say thank you to Secretary Clinton.  The world is a better place because of her tiresome advocacy of fairness and equality.  So, indeed, is our country.

Reception Honoring the Department of State’s Public/Private Partnerships

Michel-Togue

Michel Togue, Cameroon

Today the U.S. State Department hosted a reception highlighting the the Department’s public/ priviate partnerships. Secretary Clinton spoke to a range of partnerships that the State Department has implemented with the goal of spurring more collaboration among government, civil society, the private sector, universities, religious institutions, and other groups. The creation in 2011 of the Global Equality Fund is one of those important partnerships. The fund was created, as noted on the State Department’s website, to support programs that “advance the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons around the world. The Fund is a collaborative effort at the State Department, bridging multiple offices with the objective of empowering LGBT persons to live freely and without discrimination.”

In today’s speech Secretary Clinton welcomed three new governmental partnerships to the fund and highlighted one example of the work the fund has supported. She noted, “We’re also expanding on some of our successful partnerships. In 2011, I launched the Global Equality Fund to promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons around the world. And I want to welcome the Governments of Norway, the Netherlands, and France to this partnership. And I thank the Arcus Foundation and MAC AIDS Fund for their recent contributions. Also with us is Michel Togue, a human rights lawyer from Cameroon who has fought tirelessly to defend LGBT persons with support from this fund, and we greatly applaud his commitment and his courage.”

You can learn more about the fund and its program areas here

You can watch the full video from today’s event here.

Human Rights Day Message from Navi Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Click for Related Information on Human Rights Day:

Visit the My Voice Counts page of the United Nations

Statement by Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on International Human Rights Day

Celebrating Human Rights Day- U.S. Department of State

Press Statement from Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton

Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies (GLIFAA) at 20

David Buss, GLIFAA 20 Year Anniversary

David Buss, GLIFAA’s founding president

A State Department event on Wednesday captured the remarkable changes in how LGBT citizens are winning acceptance and fair treatment in our country – and how American diplomatic muscle is persuading other countries to follow that same path.

On Wednesday, the State Department celebrated the 20th anniversary of GLIFAA, an organization representing the interests of LGBT employees of foreign affairs agencies.  As late as the 1970’s, being gay was considered a security risk – reason enough to stop a career.  Even after that practice ended and GLIFAA was formed, the life of gay diplomats was hardly “gay.”  Gay and lesbian employees sometimes found themselves in less desirable jobs; their day-to-day behavior often drew heightened scrutiny; often they found an uncomfortable fit at starched and formal diplomatic events, including American ones; their family members received none of the benefits that straight families enjoyed.

These issues are part of GLIFAA’s history of course:  more to the point, they are history, full stop.   At Wednesday’s event, speakers traced the arc of that history in human terms.  David Buss, GLIFAA’s founding president, spoke of the loneliness he felt as an out-gay employee in the 80s – how indeed he had been forced to come out to his family, in order to keep his job.  Secretary Clinton asked Tom Gallagher, the Department’s first out-gay employee, to stand:  he was the Department’s earliest gay pioneer, having the courage to live his life openly in those difficult 1970’s.  She asked the same of the Council’s own Michael Guest, our country’s first out-gay, Senate-confirmed ambassador, who left his career over the Department’s unequal treatment of gay families and then worked in the Obama Administration’s Transition Team to chart a path to their resolution.

Time-wise, their stories are bookends to a story of remarkable change at the Department – change that should be credited, in full, to the personal leadership of the Secretary and her Counselor, Cheryl Mills.  But the visuals of GLIFAA’s celebration were equally striking, and equally telling.  Merely holding the event in the marble-columned Benjamin Franklin Room – State’s top-floor formal reception room, where vice presidential diplomatic dinners are held and new ambassadors traditionally are sworn in – crystallized just how far GLIFAA has come.   So, of course, did the unprecedented presence of a sitting Secretary of State, surrounded by a bevy of political appointees from a cross-section of foreign affairs agencies and the Office of Personnel Management. Continue reading ‘Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies (GLIFAA) at 20’


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