Post submitted by Kerry Brodie, former HRC Global Press Secretary
Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), America’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, hailed the leadership of U.S Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power and her Chilean counterpart Ambassador Cristian Barros Melet for holding the first ever U.N. Security Council meeting on LGBT rights later today. Open to all U.N. member states, the gathering will focus on the appalling abuse and violence being perpetrated against LGBT people in areas in which ISIS exerts control.
“The gruesome images and videos documenting ISIS's horrific violence are a haunting reminder of humankind's capacity for evil,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “By convening this meeting, Ambassadors Power and Melet have made clear that these human rights abuses against LGBT people are not only deeply heinous and inhumane, but also a matter of utmost importance to global security.”
As it continues its path of destruction across Iraq and Syria, ISIS has released several images and videos documenting the brutal execution of those accused of being LGBT. The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) has created a timeline of attacks against allegedly LGBT people, including executions that often involve throwing men from roof tops or stoning them to death. In a particularly shocking example, ISIS released videos of the public execution of four gay men on Twitter on the same day the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality, using the hashtag “Love Wins.”
Ambassador Power and the Obama Administration have made clear that the rights of LGBT people are intrinsically part of America’s foreign policy and national security strategies. In 2011, President Obama declared that the “struggle to end discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons is a global challenge, and one that is central to the United States’ commitment to promoting human rights.” More recently, President Obama explained in the 2015 State of the Union that protecting individuals, including those who are LGBT, is in the national security interests of the United States. Earlier this year, under the leadership of Secretary of State John Kerry, Randy Berry was appointed the first ever Special Envoy for LGBTI Human Rights.
The situation for LGBT people around the world varies widely. As some countries embrace equality, in others, LGBT people continue to suffer from discrimination, persecution, and violence.
· 19 countries now have marriage equality and in two countries same-sex marriage is legal in certain jurisdictions.
· But in 10 countries worldwide, same-sex activity is punishable by death, and 75 countries criminalize same-sex relationships. Hundreds of transgender individuals have been brutally murdered in the last year.
· In a growing number of countries, governments have sought to silence equality advocates and organizations with so-called “anti-propaganda” laws and legislation.
Learn more about how the Human Rights Campaign is taking action and working with allies around the world to make a difference at: www.hrc.org/global.