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Join Global Actions in Support of LGBT Human Rights

candle-bkThe release of the U.S. State Department's 2013 Human Rights Reports highlights continued human rights abuses directed at the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) populations around the globe. Here is a short list of ways that you can stay informed and lend your voice to the global LGBT community. More generally you can show your support by using the power of social media to send messages of support to those communities that are facing the harsh reality of discrimination.

Uganda:

The Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law has put foreward ways in which the international community can offer support to the Ugandan LGBT community after the signing of the Anti-Homosexuality bill.

  • Organize worldwide demonstrations in different cities around the world calling for the law to be repealed.
  • Call on Multinational companies that have businesses in Uganda to go public about their concerns on the bill and their future economic engagements in Uganda.Issue statements condemning the passage of the Bill and calling on President Museveni to repeal it.
  • Engage with any non-LGBTI partner organizations in Uganda that you may collaborate with or whom you fund to issue statements condemning the passage of the AHB and its implications to the work of Non Governmental Organizations.(NGOs).
Click here to view a list of further actions you can take to help the Ugandan LGBT community
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Council for Global Equality Urges Coca-Cola To Do More

 

Coca-Cola's Super Bowl ad, which will also air for U.S. audiences during the Sochi Olympics, paints a picture of an inclusive and diverse America. Despite many months of discussion and dialogue with the LGBT community, we are disappointed that Coca-Cola has not sought to air a genuinely LGBT-affirming ad in Russia or in other countries where that message so desperately needs to be heard. Values, after all, should not stop at water's edge. We urge that, as a major sponsor of the Sochi Olympics, Coca Cola affirm its values to Russian audiences and to the entire Olympic community.

CGE and other human rights advocates have been asking Olympic Corporate sponsors to stand up for LGBT rights all year.

View the letter signed by 40 international human rights organizations here.

 

Why Does the Sochi Olympics Matter?


 

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The Olympic Charter celebrates equality – equal opportunity both on and off the ice and snow.  The Olympics are about fair competition and respect for fellow athletes. They provide a unique opportunity to build  bridges – celebrating that, wherever we come from, we are one. Laws like Russia's anti-LGBT law sully that spirit – they’re not fair, they’re not democratic, and they divide. They have no place in the Olympic Village, and they have no place in today’s world. 

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Uganda Passes Odious Anti-LGBT Law

candle-bkThe Council for Global Equality joins our colleagues in Uganda and around the world in condemning the adoption today of a harsh, anti-gay law that sentences LGBT Ugandans to life in prison. President obama condemned an earlier version of the bill – substantially quite similar to the bill that now has passed – in simple and forceful terms as “odious.” With global condemnation and the weight of history in the balance, we urge Uganda’s president to reject this assault on the fundamental rights of his fellow citizens.  Passage of this legislation is all the more shocking because a sweeping, anti-gay law also moved forward this week in Nigeria, while Russia continues its own legal assault on its LGBT citizens in advance of the Sochi Olympics.  At year’s end, when people around the world are celebrating the blessings of the year past and the promise of the year to come, we mourn that such intolerance prevails.

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Open Letter to President Putin on Russia’s Discriminatory Anti-LGBT Laws


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rff-button-hNovember 15, 2013
Dear President Putin: 


Washington DC
- Like many of our generation, we have applauded Russia’s 20-year turn toward democracy, confident in the prospect it lays not only for closer relations between our countries, but for the freer and more prosperous future that the Russian people deserve.  In that light, we write to express grave concern at recent legislation – signed by you into law, or otherwise under consideration in the Duma – that demonizes and discriminates against Russian citizens who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT).

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Advancing the Human Rights of LGBT Persons in Europe and Beyond

cge-reblog-uzra-zeyaRepost from DipNote 
by Uzra Zeya, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor

I was honored to represent the United States government at the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) Europe’s Annual Conference, held in Zagreb, Croatia yesterday.  Before an audience of more than 250 activists from 45 countries across Europe, I affirmed the strong U.S. commitment to advance the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons in Europe and beyond. 

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Corporate Concerns About Russia's Anti-LGBT Laws

moscow-skyline-1Russia’s ongoing spate of laws that discriminate against LGBT Russians reflects poorly on Russia’s understanding of, and commitment to, democratic norms and universal human rights obligations.  This, of course, is the Council’s primary focus.

However, Russia’s anti-LGBT laws also directly threaten Russia’s own interests.  They impede travel and tourism – by gay and transgender foreigners, yes, but also by those who worry about Russia’s commitment to the rule of law.  They undermine citizen-to-citizen exchanges – so vital to the breadth and strength of bilateral ties.  And they harm the ability of American and multinational companies operating in Russia to take logical, efficient business decisions to allow them to grow in mutually productive ways.

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The Facts on LGBT Rights in Russia

kremlin-color-webIn recent months, public attention to the ongoing crackdown on LGBT rights in the Russian Federation and its potential impact on the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia in February 2014 has increased significantly.  President Obama addressed the issue on the Tonight Show, saying:

“I think Putin and Russia have a big stake in making sure the Olympics work, and I think they understand that for most of the countries that participate in the Olympics, we wouldn’t tolerate gays and lesbians being treated differently. They’re athletes, they’re there to compete. And if Russia wants to uphold the Olympic spirit, then every judgment should be made on the track, or in the swimming pool, or on the balance beam, and people’s sexual orientation shouldn’t have anything to do with it.” – President Obama

This fact sheet summarizes the developments in Russia and the guidance that we have received to date from our colleagues in Russia.

 LGBT People Are Being Targeted by Anti-LGBT Propaganda and Foreign Agents Laws

Following the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia liberalized some of its anti-LGBT laws.  Most notably, homosexual relationships were decriminalized in 1993.  Transgender Russians have also been allowed to change their legal gender on identity documents since 1997, although there are many obstacles to the process and invasive surgical requirements remain in place.  Despite these liberalization trends during the immediate post-Soviet period, in recent years, Russian authorities have routinely denied permits for Pride parades, intimidated and arrested LGBT activists and condoned anti-LGBT statements by government officials. ILGA-Europe, the European section of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, rates Russia  as the least protective country in Europe for LGBT citizens, ranking it 49th out of the 49 European countries rated in its annual survey.

In June 2013, the Russian duma in Moscow passed a new law banning the “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships”to minors.  The new federal law is closely related to several regional laws that were already on the books, all of which seek to penalize “propaganda” of homosexuality, generally with the intent of “protecting” minors.  The city of Sochi, which is the site of the upcoming Winter Olympics, has one of those regional laws in place.  And while the regional laws are not uniform, like the new federal law, they all tend to advance vague definitions of propaganda that lend themselves to the targeting and ongoing persecution of the country’s LGBT community. The language of this new law focuses on “non-traditional” sexual relationships, to contrast with “traditional values” or “traditional family” language that Russia is promoting at the UN to oppose positive statements supporting the human rights of LGBT people. 

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

Contact:

Mark Bromley, Council Chair, 202-719-0511 x12

Jessica Stern, Executive Director, International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, 917-355-3262

June 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.” 

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Serious Human Rights Abuses Directed at LGBT Populations in Every Region

2012 Human Rights ReportsThe 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.

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