President Obama today issued a memorandum directing the heads of Executive Departments and Agencies abroad to advance the human rights of and ensure the safety of LGBT people.
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. I am deeply concerned by the violence and discrimination targeting LGBT persons around the world — whether it is passing laws that criminalize LGBT status, beating citizens simply for joining peaceful LGBT pride celebrations, or killing men, women, and children for their perceived sexual orientation. That is why I declared before heads of state gathered at the United Nations, "no country should deny people their rights because of who they love, which is why we must stand up for the rights of gays and lesbians everywhere." Under my Administration, agencies engaged abroad have already begun taking action to promote the fundamental human rights of LGBT persons everywhere. Our deep commitment to advancing the human rights of all people is strengthened when we as the United States bring our tools to bear to vigorously advance this goal.
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 memo directs agencies to combat the criminalization of homosexuality, protect vulnerable LGBT refugees and asylum seekers, enhance foreign aid to countries with respect to promoting LGBT rights, respond quickly to abuses of LGBT citizens abroad, and engage international organizations in the fight against LGBT discrimination.
Read the memorandum, below:
In recognition of Human Rights Day, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will deliver a human rights policy speech on Tuesday, December 6, hosted by the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in Geneva at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.
I'll be posting a livestream of it here at 11:55 am ET.