Post submitted by Remington A. Gregg, former HRC Legislative Counsel

The State Department today released its annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, a Congressionally-mandated report on the state of human rights around the world.  Unfortunately, 2013 saw a year of unprecedented human rights abuses, especially against LGBT people. In his remarks, Secretary of State John Kerry said:

From Nigeria to Russia to Iran, indeed in some 80 countries the world over, LGBT communities face discriminatory laws and practices that attack their basic human dignity and undermine their safety.  We are seeing new laws like the Anti-Homosexuality Bill enacted by Uganda and signed into law by President Museveni earlier this week, which not only makes criminals of people for who they are, but punishes those who defend the human rights that are our universal birthright.

These laws contribute to a global trend of rising violence and discrimination against LGBT persons and their supporters, and they are an affront to every reasonable conscience, and the United States will continue to stand with our LGBT brothers and sisters as we stand up for freedom, for justice, for equal rights for all people around the world.

It is clear that the State Department realizes how dangerous the situation is in several countries. Yesterday, Secretary Kerry likened recent anti-LGBT laws sprouting throughout the world to Nazism and apartheid, calling them “contrary to human rights and human nature.”  In the 65th year of the ratification of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it is becoming increasingly clear that HRC and our domestic and international partners must work harder than ever to ensure that the words of that document never ring hollow: “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”

HRC will continue to fight to secure that dignity for all LGBT people. And in the coming weeks, we will work with Members of Congress and the Administration to respond to these abuses, educate the public about how right-wing fundamentalists continue to export their hate abroad, and mobilize our members to act. As Secretary Kerry wisely noted, this problem is not just an “African problem, [but a] global” one.  No person – anywhere in this world – should go to jail, fear bodily injury, or lose their job for being who they are. Along with our partners, HRC will continue to fight at home and abroad for equality for all.

Filed under: International

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