Human Rights First Welcomes State Department Announcement of Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBT People

Washington, D.C. – Human Rights First today welcomed the announcement that Secretary of State John Kerry will appoint a special envoy in the State Department focused on promoting the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people worldwide. A State Department official announced today that Secretary Kerry will appoint the new special envoy later this month.

“The announcement that Secretary Kerry will appoint a special envoy is a major milestone in the fight for equality worldwide, sending an important message to foreign governments that protecting the rights of LGBT people will remain a key foreign policy priority of the United States well beyond the current administration,” said Human Rights First’s Shawn Gaylord. “We look forward to working together with the special envoy to encourage foreign governments to protect the rights of their LGBT citizens and to usher in a new era of support for the human rights defenders around the world who struggle daily to combat discrimination, persecution, and violence.”

The State Department has indicated that the new special envoy will be a career foreign service officer who is openly gay. The special envoy will be tasked with advancing the State Department’s initiatives to protect the human rights of LGBT people, responding to discrimination and violence against LGBT people, and building partnerships with LGBT activists around the world.

Human Rights First has advocated for the appointment of a special envoy for the human rights of LGBT people, urging President Obama to build on his administration’s progress in advancing equality by creating this position. The organization has also advocated for the introduction and passage of the International Human Rights Defense Act, a bill to create a special envoy for the human rights of LGBT people in that State Department Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.


Published on February 5, 2015


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