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Obama & Clinton Deliver Policy to Support LGBT Human Rights
President Obama Directs Gov't Support to Defend LGBT people Abroad
On December 6, 2011, President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum directing agencies operating abroad to defend the rights of LGBT persons when carrying out U.S. foreign policy. Simultaneously, Secretary Clinton delivered the first speech by a U.S. Cabinet Official abroad devoted solely to the human rights of LGBT persons.
President Obama's memorandum calls for all U.S. agencies to defend and assist LGBT people in conducting U.S. foreign policy: "By this memorandum I am directing all agencies engaged abroad to ensure that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons."
The memorandum calls agencies to oppose the criminalization of LGBT status, protects LGBT refugees and asylum seekers, directs foreign assistance to advance non-discrimination policies, calls for swift responses to human rights abuses of LGBT people, and requires reports detailing work on these issues from each agency operating abroad within the next 6 months.
Speaking to the U.N. in Geneva Secretary Clinton expounded forcefully on this policy, using the occasion of Human Rights Day "to talk about the work we have left to do to protect one group of people whose human rights are still denied in too many parts of the world today...gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people." Read and watch here.
Please share this news with friends and colleagues - and look for more about how you can participate at posts abroad. Already, embassies and consulates worldwide have participated in defending LGBT people through political, public affairs, and grant work. State political bureaus have instituted policy and practice to support the rights of LGBT people -- contact GLIFAA if you would like to assist or find your regional point of contact.
The GLIFAA Board welcomes these extremely positive developments and will continue to provide you with updates on their impact and our analysis of their broader implications through the Board blog.