Global Respect Act Would Hold Human Rights Violators Accountable

Washington, D.C. –  Human Rights First today urged Congress to support the passage of the Global Respect Act, a bill that would direct the State Department to report gross violations of basic human rights against LGBT individuals in its annual Human Rights Report and to ban foreigners who have committed or incited these violations from entering the United States. The bill was first introduced in the 113th Congress and was reintroduced today by original sponsor Rep. David N. Cicilline (D-RI).

“We welcome the reintroduction of this bill, which signals to foreign governments that the United States does not tolerate egregious human rights violations perpetrated against LGBT people,” said Human Rights First’s Shawn Gaylord. “We hope that Congress  will follow Representative Cicilline’s leadership and support swift passage of this important bill.”

“It is important that the United States and the entire international community ‎take a stand against gross human rights abuses committed against the LGBT community. I am proud to introduce this legislation that will deny visas to those who do harm to and persecute LGBT individuals. We must be clear that those who commit gross human rights abuses are not welcome in the United States,” said Representative Cicilline.

The Global Respect Act calls for the Department of State to:

  • Send Congress biannually a list of foreign persons responsible for, complicit in, or who incited extrajudicial killing, torture, or other gross violations of human rights based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity;
  • Deny or rescind visas to individuals placed on the list, with waivers for national security or to allow attendance at the United Nations;
  • Allow for a person to be removed from the list if the president determines that credible information exists that the person did not engage in the alleged activity, has paid an appropriate consequence for the behavior, or if the person has credibly demonstrated a significant change in behavior;
  • Require a section on LGBT international human rights to be included in the annual State Department Report on Human Rights; and
  • Require the Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor to designate a staffer responsible for tracking violence, criminalization, and restrictions on the enjoyment of fundamental freedoms in foreign countries based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

On Tuesday, May 19, Human Rights First will host a reception to celebrate International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia featuring Representative Cicilline, along with Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Representative Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Jamaican activist Angeline Jackson, and Dominican Activist John Waters. For more information or to RSVP for the event visit the event page.


Published on May 15, 2015


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