Yesterday, 85 countries from around the world issued a “joint statement,” which vowed to end violence against people based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The State Department provided a fact sheet, including the actual statement, which can be found here. The White House and the State Department issued statements on the significance of this development.
First, the statement from the White House Press Secretary:
President Obama believes that advancing the human rights of minorities and the marginalized is a fundamental American value. The President was pleased to announce during his trip to Brazil that he and President Rousseff agreed to promote respect for the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals through the establishment of a special rapporteur on LGBT issues at the Organization of American States. This special rapporteur will be the first of its kind in the international system.
Over the past months our diplomats have been engaged in frank, and at times difficult, conversations about the human rights of LGBT persons with governments from around world. This morning, at the United Nations Human Rights Council, some 85 countries joined the United States in reaffirming our joint commitment to end acts of violence and human rights abuses on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The President is proud of the work we have done to build international consensus on this critical issue and is committed to continuing our determined efforts to advance the human rights of all people, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
And, the statement from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton:
Today, 85 countries from every region of the world joined together in a historic moment to state clearly that human rights apply to everyone, no matter who they are or whom they love.
The United States, along with Colombia and Slovenia, took a leading role on this statement along with over 30 cosponsors. Countries around the world participated including many that had never supported such efforts. And we hope that even more countries will step up, sign on to the statement and signal their support for universal human rights.
This statement is an example of America’s commitment to human rights through dialogue, open discussion and frank conversation with countries we don’t always agree with on every issue. In Geneva, our conversations about the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals with countries where sexual orientation is not only stigmatized, but criminalized, are helping to advance a broader and deeper global dialogue about these issues.
As I said last June, gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights. We will continue to promote human rights around the world for all people who are marginalized and discriminated against because of sexual orientation or gender identity. And we will not rest until every man, woman and child is able to live up to his or her potential free from persecution or discrimination of any kind.