The State Department’s latest country human rights reports, released April 19, confirm the lack of respect that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people face in many areas of the world. However, the reports also point to a range of serious human rights abuses directed at LGBT populations in every region.
The Obama Administration has made a commendable effort to catalog instances and trends of LGBT abuse worldwide. We were pleased that Secretary Kerry specifically lauded the Department’s expanded coverage of LGBT rights in a speech marking the release of this year’s reports.
Of no surprise, hate crimes top the list of violent actions directed against LGBT people in many countries. But even more appalling, are the numerous instances of government officials’ complicity in LGBT abuse. For instance:
- In Jamaica, prison wardens reportedly were involved in numerous incidents of violence against gay inmates.
- In Chile, gay prisoners were denied access to hygienic services.
- In Libya, a government-affiliated brigade arrested, detained, and beat 12 allegedly gay men who were at a private party.
- A military unit in Moldova beat two gay men while verbally abusing them on grounds of their sexual orientation.
- Cameroonian police detained three men, and jailed them for a week, because two of the men appeared effeminate; beat them until they confessed to being gay; then sentenced them to five years in prison.
- In El Salvador, police officers allegedly physically abused a gay teenager, then made a phone call after which three gang members appeared and beat the teenager further.
- In Kyrgyz Republic, LGBT groups documented 18 cases of police extortion.
- Zimbabwean police raided the offices of an LGBT support organization; arrested 44 of its members; outed those members to families and employers (with consequences to jobs and family ties); and effectively closed the organization.
(Download a compendium of all sexual orientation and gender identity references in the 2012 report)