Post submitted by Remington A. Gregg, former HRC Legislative Counsel
Last week, a coalition of civil and human rights groups sent a letter to President Barack Obama requesting a meeting with senior Administration officials to discuss the continuing human rights violations of LGBT people in countries including Nigeria and Uganda, and to present the White House with concrete actions that the United States should take immediately to protect the lives of LGBT individuals in those countries. Scores of prominent officials have condemned the rise of recent LGBT laws, including President Obama, former President Bill Clinton, Secretary John Kerry, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The full letter to President Obama can be found here.
Recommendations include: reprogramming aid away from discriminating governments to civil society organizations that are committed to proven evidence- and rights-based intervention; using the full weight of U.S. diplomatic weight to press countries to repeal anti-LGBT laws; and providing on-the-ground training protection and support to people put at risk because of anti-LGBT laws or harassment. These recommendations are carefully crafted to ensure that the people who most need foreign assistance are not punished for the actions of leaders who are standing on the wrong side of history.
In addition, these recommendations are meant to protect LGBT people beyond Nigeria, Uganda, and Russia. As HRC highlighted last week at its annual Equality Convention, homosexuality is criminalized in almost a dozen Caribbean nations and being LGBT is punishable by death in in Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Yemen, and parts of Nigeria and Somalia.
The State Department has asked diplomats in countries around the world to be a “clarion call” for LGBT equality. HRC will continue to work in this country and around the world to ensure that message is heard loud and clear.