Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke in recognition of International Human Rights Day. In keeping with the large strides made by President Obama’s Administration in extending rights to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans, she unequivocally stated that “gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights.” Clinton condemned all acts of violence and prejudice against the LGBT community around the world, and urged the international community to strengthen the human rights protections for all citizens.
Clinton described the initiatives begun by the Obama Administration, including Obama’s creation of a U.S. Government strategy “dedicated to combating human rights abuses against LGBT persons abroad.” She said:
The Obama Administration defends the human rights of LGBT people as part of our comprehensive human rights policy and as a priority of our foreign policy. In our embassies, our diplomats are raising concerns about specific cases and laws, and working with a range of partners to strengthen human rights protections for all. In Washington, we have created a task force at the State Department to support and coordinate this work. And in the coming months, we will provide every embassy with a toolkit to help improve their efforts. And we have created a program that offers emergency support to defenders of human rights for LGBT people.
This morning, back in Washington, President Obama put into place the first U.S. Government strategy dedicated to combating human rights abuses against LGBT persons abroad. Building on efforts already underway at the State Department and across the government, the President has directed all U.S. Government agencies engaged overseas to combat the criminalization of LGBT status and conduct, to enhance efforts to protect vulnerable LGBT refugees and asylum seekers, to ensure that our foreign assistance promotes the protection of LGBT rights, to enlist international organizations in the fight against discrimination, and to respond swiftly to abuses against LGBT persons.
I am also pleased to announce that we are launching a new Global Equality Fund that will support the work of civil society organizations working on these issues around the world. This fund will help them record facts so they can target their advocacy, learn how to use the law as a tool, manage their budgets, train their staffs, and forge partnerships with women’s organizations and other human rights groups. We have committed more than $3 million to start this fund, and we have hope that others will join us in supporting it.
Click here to read Clinton’s remarks.
Click here to read the State Department’s fact sheet on the accomplishments in promoting the human rights of LGBT Americans.
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