The U.S. joined more than 80 countries March 22 to issue a statement at the United Nations Human Rights Council entitled "Ending Acts of Violence and Related Human Rights Violations Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity." The statement "express [ es ] concern at continued evidence in every region of acts of violence and related human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity." In addition, it "call [ s ] on States to take steps to end acts of violence, criminal sanctions and related human rights violations committed against individuals because of their sexual orientation or gender identity."
The White House issued this press release: "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."
"The Administration has laudably reaffirmed its commitment to the philosophy that LGBT rights are human rights by joining today's statement before the U.N. Human Rights Council," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "With over 80 nations jointly participating in the statement, the message is clear that hate violence against LGBT people should not be tolerated by any government."
The Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system made up of 47 States, including the U.S., responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe. Joint statements provide a constructive opportunity to raise awareness and support for human rights issues relating to sexual orientation and gender identity. The joint statement was delivered by Colombia on behalf of 85 countries.
STATEMENT BY SECRETARY CLINTON
Human Rights Council Statement on Ending Violence Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
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.
Statement by Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on the Joint Statement on the Rights of LGBT Persons at the Human Rights Council, March 24, 2011
As the United States continues our important work in the Human Rights Council this week, we are proud to recognize a historic statement, signed by a record 85 nations, reaffirming the rights of all people — regardless of who they are and whom they love. More nations than ever believe that freedom from violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity must end. The United States is proud to lend our strong support to this growing consensus and to work towards a world in which all gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals can live free from fear of persecution, discrimination, or assault.
We will continue to stand firm in the Human Rights Council on behalf of all those who are at risk of violence and discrimination. And we will continue to work to ensure that rights that are universally held are universally protected.