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A New Passage to India

newdehliCan the U.S. and India Forge a Human Rights Partnership on LGBT Rights?

By Arvind Narrain and Mark Bromley

President Obama described his journey to India last month as the dawn of “one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century.”  And when confronted by human rights abuse, he reminded, “it is the responsibility of the international community—especially leaders like the United States and India—to condemn it.”  

On this Human Rights Day (December 10), our countries should commit to a new partnership to protect those who are persecuted worldwide because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.  This is the latest chapter in the modern human rights struggle, and in Obama’s words, it is time to “put aside old habits and attitudes.”

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U.S. Falls Behind Other Nations on LGBT Issues

un_geneva_flagsGeneva, November 5 – A high-level US government delegation today defended the country’s human rights record before the Human Rights Council at the UN in Geneva. In preparation for the review, the Council for Global Equality submitted an NGO report to the US government and to the UN to emphasize the lack of rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans. The Council is pleased that during the meeting today, known as the “Universal Periodic Review,” the US government freely admitted that the US civil rights record is incomplete and that LGBT Americans are among those who are still fighting to achieve full equality.
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U.S. Falls Behind Other Nations on LGBT Issues

For Immediate Release: November 5, 2010

Contact: Mark Bromley
202-607-6813

Geneva, November 5 – A high-level US government delegation today defended the country’s human rights record before the Human Rights Council at the UN in Geneva. In preparation for the review, the Council for Global Equality submitted a report to the US government and to the UN to emphasize the lack of rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans. The Council is pleased that during the meeting today, known as the “Universal Periodic Review,” the US government freely admitted that the US civil rights record is incomplete and that LGBT Americans are among those who are still fighting to achieve full equality.

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Council’s Senior Advisor to Lead U.S. Delegation to International Human Rights Conference

mguesthshot-web
photo: Lage Carlson
The State Department named former U.S. Ambassador Michael Guest, who also serves as a Senior Advisor to the Council, as the head of the U.S. delegation to an upcoming human rights conference in Warsaw, Poland in October.  At this annual human rights meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which includes Eastern and Western Europe and North America, the United States will be speak out against violations of the rights to freedom of speech and association, while also highlighting patterns of extreme violence against minority communities, including the increasingly well-documented trend in LGBT violence and hate crime across the region.  This is the first time that the United States has included an openly gay advocate on its official delegation to the OSCE to address these alarming human rights trends.
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An LGBT Response to the State Department’s UPR Report

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by Julie Dorf, Senior Advisor

The best part of Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s livid reaction to the U.S. report to the United Nations on our country’s human rights record was that it put this relatively obscure international human rights instrument–known as the Universal Periodic Review (UPR)–into the mainstream news this week. CNN and the New York Times would otherwise never have covered the UPR submission of the United States at the UN’s Human Rights Council without a scandal to report. Brewer was furious at the inclusion of a very brief mention of the pending federal court case reviewing Arizona’s controversial SB 1070 law on immigration, through which the federal government argues that they, not the states, are responsible for immigration law.

Continue reading at Global Equality Today

 

 

The Council for Global Equality Applauds Vote Conferring UN Status on the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC)

un photo - small size July 19, 2010 -- In a contentious vote, the UN today granted consultative status to the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), despite strong objections from states that stand opposed to the recognition of LGBT rights at the UN. IGLHRC, a founding member of the Council, is the first LGBT group from the United States to secure this special status, and one of only a handful of LGBT groups in the world that has successfully navigated this hostile process. The Council congratulates IGLHRC and recognizes the strong leadership in support of this vote that came from the White House, the State Department, the U.S. Mission to the United Nations and from leading members of Congress.

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"Thank You for Being Part of History's Great Moments"

Hilary Clinton June 2010June 22, 2010 -- In honor of LGBT Pride month, Secretary of State Clinton delivered a moving speech today to to a packed auditorium in the State Department. She highlighted the State Department's ongoing commitment to LGBT rights and emphatically declared that "human rights are gay rights and gay rights are human rights - once and for all!" She also made a number of policy announcements, including the addition of gender identity to the State Department's equal opportunity employment statement, and issued directives to all regional bureaus to expand their work on LGBT issues. During the address, she personally welcomed four visiting LGBTI activists from Uganda, Cameroon, South Africa, and Malawi, who attended the speech before settling into a working meeting with the State Department's Africa Bureau. She concluded by making a personal plea to do more for LGBT youth, and she thanked everyone for "being a part of history's great moments."

The event was co-sponsored by GLIFFA, and also included comments by USAID Administer Shaw and Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration, Eric Schwartz. A brief panel discussion followed the remarks and included Deputy Assistant Secretary Dan Baer, as well as the Council's Chair, Mark Bromley, and IGLHRC's Executive Director, Cary Alan Johnson.

Watch the full U.S. State Department Pride Celebration here

 

Bishop John Bryson Chane delivers speech on respecting diversity on behalf of the US delegation at the OSCE tolerance meeting in Astana

bishopchaneUnited States Mission to the OSCE

Session 5: The role of education to promote mutual understanding
and respect for diversity according to OSCE commitments
 
As prepared for delivery by Bishop John Bryson Chane 
to the OSCE High-Level Conference on 
Tolerance and non-Discrimination 
June 30, 2010


Mr. Chairman,

As a public member of the United States delegation, I am honored to participate in this important session promoting mutual understanding and respect for diversity. The United States places great importance on respect for diversity and combating intolerance and discrimination around the world. It is the policy of the United States to protect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all human beings, including the rights of the most vulnerable individuals in society.The United States condemns all human rights violations and private acts of violence committed against all individuals, including those committed on account of their gender, race, or sexual orientation.

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Malawi Pardons Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza

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Reports from Malawi indicate that President Bingu wa Mutharika will pardon Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza. The two were arrested after they affirmed their relationship in a traditional engagement ceremony in December. They were convicted in May of committing acts of gross indecency and initially sentenced to 14 years at hard labor. The Council welcomes the statements from  the White House and the U.S. Department of State on their release.

The case was also followed closely in the U.S. Congress, where Representatives Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) introduced House Resolution 1335 calling on the Government of Malawi to release Tiwonge and Steven.

Both the State Department and the White House condemned the harsh and unjustified sentence, as did House Foreign Affairs Chairman Berman (D-CA) and Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI). Those statements can be found here.

U.S. Department of State

White House Statement

Chairman Howard Berman

Senator Russ Feingold

Senator Feingold, Chairman of the U.S. Senate's ForeignRelations Subcommittee on African Affairs, also sent a letter to the President of Malawi expressing concern at the human rights implications raised by the case.

 
 

The Council for Global Equality Submits Shadow Report to U.S. Department of State

This week, the Council for Global Equality, together with Global Rights, Human Rights Campaign, Human Rights First, National Center for Lesbian Rights, and Immigration Equality submitted a shadow report to the U.S. Department of State on how the United States could do a better job adhering to its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

The report covered a variety of issues that impact the LGBT populations in the United States, and suggests recommendations for how the United States can more fully adhere to its promises under that international treaty. This report complements an earlier submission for the Universal Periodic Review – another mechanism that the United Nations utilizes to regularly monitor the human rights records of all its member nations.

Read full ICCPR report

 
 
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