U.S. Calls Out Gay-Rights Violators Around the World

Violent quelling of protests and antigay laws highlighted in the State Department’s annual report.

National Journal
Matt Vasilogambros
Add to Briefcase
Matt Vasilogambros
Feb. 27, 2014, 7:16 a.m.

The United States is put­ting nearly 80 coun­tries on no­tice: If you take away the rights of mem­bers of the LGBT com­munity, there are con­sequences.

In an­noun­cing the State De­part­ment’s an­nu­al re­port on hu­man rights, Sec­ret­ary of State John Kerry high­lighted the per­se­cu­tion of same-sex per­sons around the world, es­pe­cially in light of a bill signed by Uganda’s pres­id­ent that crim­in­al­izes ho­mo­sexu­al­ity.

“These laws con­trib­ute to a glob­al trend of grow­ing vi­ol­ence,” Kerry said Thursday. “They are a front to every reas­on­able con­science.”

Kerry fur­ther called for a world “where pro­fess­ing one’s love does not lead to per­se­cu­tion.”

Vi­ol­a­tions against same-sex rights have been a pri­or­ity for the U.S. in re­cent years, which par­tic­u­larly came in­to fo­cus in the run-up to the Winter Olympics in So­chi. Rus­si­an law “ef­fect­ively crim­in­al­izes pub­lic ex­pres­sion and as­sembly for any­one who would ad­voc­ate LGBT equal­ity,” the State De­part­ment re­port says. The re­port also goes after oth­er na­tions for crim­in­al­iz­ing same-sex sexu­al activ­ity in Afric­an na­tions such as Ni­ger­ia, Uganda, Cameroon, and Zam­bia.

Kerry de­tailed these vi­ol­a­tions, along with oth­ers seen around world, es­pe­cially in na­tions that are su­per­powers. It’s hard for the United States to ig­nore its stra­tegic re­la­tion­ships with coun­tries such as China and Rus­sia, as both are key play­ers on eco­nom­ic and dip­lo­mat­ic is­sues. But they are also two of the worst vi­ol­at­ors of hu­man rights.

China is cri­ti­cized for its tight con­trol of the In­ter­net and for break­ing up protests that cri­ti­cize gov­ern­ment cor­rup­tion. Rus­sia, for its part, is cri­ti­cized for go­ing after gov­ern­ment op­pos­i­tion, while also vi­ol­at­ing the rights of re­li­gious and eth­nic minor­it­ies, and the LGBT com­munity.

This re­port, re­quired by law, is of­ten used by Con­gress to make its de­cisions on wheth­er to pass sanc­tions or provide aid to oth­er na­tions. Kerry con­ceded that there’s even an “on­go­ing struggle” here in the United States, list­ing LGBT rights and equal treat­ment of wo­men.

“We don’t speak with ar­rog­ance but con­cern for the hu­man con­di­tion,” he said.

What should be con­cern­ing for the U.S. is that sev­er­al na­tions the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion has ex­pressed faith in con­tin­ue to vi­ol­ate hu­man rights, in­clud­ing the new na­tion of South Su­dan and an in­creas­ingly un­stable Egypt, which the State De­part­ment notes has used “ex­cess­ive force” to quell an­ti­gov­ern­ment protests.

Kerry also men­tioned Ukraine; even be­fore it was in the news for crack­ing down on pro-European Uni­on protests, the Ukrain­i­an gov­ern­ment was in­creas­ing its pres­sure on civil so­ci­ety, journ­al­ists, and pro­test­ers, he said.

Ob­vi­ously, the re­port cited the usu­al sus­pects, in­clud­ing the al­leged use of chem­ic­al weapons by the Syr­i­an gov­ern­ment and the con­tin­ued op­pres­sion by the gov­ern­ments of North Korea, Cuba, and Ir­an. The State De­part­ment calls these vi­ol­a­tions “de­plor­able” and does not de­tail any pro­gress in these places. On Ir­an, of­fi­cials say there has been “little mean­ing­ful im­prove­ment in hu­man rights from the Ir­a­ni­an gov­ern­ment” since Pres­id­ent Has­san Rouh­ani took of­fice.

What We're Following See More »
STARTS LEGAL FUND FOR WH STAFF
Trump to Begin Covering His Own Legal Bills
16 hours ago
THE DETAILS
DISCUSSED THE MATTER FOR A NEW BOOK
Steele Says Follow the Money
17 hours ago
STAFF PICKS

"Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence officer who wrote the explosive dossier alleging ties between Donald Trump and Russia," says in a new book by The Guardian's Luke Harding that "Trump's land and hotel deals with Russians needed to be examined. ... Steele did not go into further detail, Harding said, but seemed to be referring to a 2008 home sale to the Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev. Richard Dearlove, who headed the UK foreign-intelligence unit MI6 between 1999 and 2004, said in April that Trump borrowed money from Russia for his business during the 2008 financial crisis."

Source:
BRITISH PUBLICIST CONNECTED TO TRUMP TOWER MEETING
Goldstone Ready to Meet with Mueller’s Team
18 hours ago
THE LATEST

"The British publicist who helped set up the fateful meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a group of Russians at Trump Tower in June 2016 is ready to meet with Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller's office, according to several people familiar with the matter. Rob Goldstone has been living in Bangkok, Thailand, but has been communicating with Mueller's office through his lawyer, said a source close to Goldstone."

Source:
SPEAKING ON RUSSIAN STATE TV
Kislyak Says Trump Campaign Contacts Too Numerous to List
18 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak said on Wednesday that it would take him more than 20 minutes to name all of the Trump officials he's met with or spoken to on the phone. ... Kislyak made the remarks in a sprawling interview with Russia-1, a popular state-owned Russian television channel."

Source:
“BLOWING A SURE THING”
Sabato Moves Alabama to “Lean Democrat”
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login