By Trudy Ring
Originally published on Advocate.com February 28 2014 3:58 PM ET
The State Department’s 2013 report on human rights around the world, released Thursday, focuses on the situation of LGBT people to a greater degree than previous ones and makes a strong statement against anti-LGBT discrimination.
“From Nigeria to Russia to Iran, indeed in some 80 countries the world over, LGBT communities face discriminatory laws and practices that attack their basic human dignity and undermine their safety,” Secretary of State John Kerry said in introducing the annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. “We are seeing new laws like the Anti-Homosexuality Bill enacted by Uganda and signed into law by President Museveni earlier this week, which not only makes criminals of people for who they are, but punishes those who defend the human rights that are our universal birthright.
“These laws contribute to a global trend of rising violence and discrimination against LGBT persons and their supporters, and they are an affront to every reasonable conscience, and the United States will continue to stand with our LGBT brothers and sisters as we stand up for freedom, for justice, for equal rights for all people around the world.”
This amounts to “the broadest statement yet that Washington considers the treatment of gays a key measure of human rights around the world,” notes The Washington Post.
The previous day, in a roundtable interview with a small group of journalists, Kerry likened Uganda’s new law, which makes homosexuality punishable with prison sentences of up to life, to persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany and apartheid in South Africa, the Post reports.
“You could change the focus of this legislation to black or Jewish, and you could be in 1930s Germany, or you could be in 1950s or ’60s apartheid South Africa,” he said. “It was wrong there, egregiously, in both places, and it is wrong here.”
Read the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices here.