Human Rights First Welcomes Latvian Foreign Minister’s Support for LGBT Equality

Washington, D.C. – Human Rights First today applauds Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs for standing with the nation’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community and bravely publicly announcing that he is proud to be gay. Following Rinkēvičs Twitter message on Thursday stating, “I proudly announce I am gay… Good luck all of you…,” Human Rights First urges the United States to stand with the Latvian leader in the effort to promote the human rights of Latvia’s LGBT community.

“Rinkēvičs’ tweet is not only an important step forward in his own personal journey, but is also a strong encouragement to Latvia’s human rights defenders and the LGBT community, who have faced discrimination and ongoing attempts by lawmakers to pass laws that infringe on their basic human rights,” said Human Rights First’s Shawn Gaylord. “We urge the U.S. government and the international community to work together to protect Rinkēvičs and other members of Latvia’s LGBT community from persecution and discrimination, and to press the Latvian government to prevent the passage of discriminatory laws and policies.”

Latvian lawmakers are considering a referendum to amend the country’s child protection laws to prevent minors from receiving positive information regarding LGBT issues. With inspiration from the international family values organization “Save the Children,” certain political actors have begun amassing support in advance of the submission deadline on December 8. The referendum would be a disastrous blow for the country’s LGBT community, considering that EuroPride, the annual international event dedicated to honoring the rights and culture of LGBT Europeans, is slated to occur in Riga next year. Human Rights First works closely with Latvian LGBT organization Mozaika to monitor the human rights situation and raise international pressure to stop the passage of discriminatory laws.

During the past two years, Russia’s homophobic laws and policies have spread throughout the former Soviet region. Human Rights First continues to urge the U.S. government work to prevent the spread of Russian-style anti-“propaganda” laws in the surrounding region.


Published on November 7, 2014


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