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Review of U.S. Fight for Global LGBT Rights Expected to Show Progress

Review of U.S. Fight for Global LGBT Rights Expected to Show Progress


President Obama's administration has taken up the cause of LGBT rights around the world.

Soon-to-be released findings of a six-month review of the implementation of the presidential memorandum "International Initiatives to Advance the Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Persons" are expected to show progress, according to Human Rights First.

Issued last December, the memorandum calls on all U.S. agencies involved internationally to "ensure that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the rights of LGBT persons."

The departments are directed to combat the criminalization of LGBT status or conduct abroad, protect LGBT refugees and asylum seekers, protect human rights and advance nondiscrimination, respond swiftly and meaningfully to human rights abuses of LGBT people abroad, and engage international organizations in the fight against LGBT discrimination.

So far, the administration has taken up the effot in a variety of ways, including opposing Uganda's proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill, launching the $3 million Global Equality Fund and backing South Africa's lead in tabling the first resolution of human rights based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Despite the administration's progress, Human Rights First still points out areas for improvement, including resettling LGBT refugees and asylum seekers more quickly.

"This administration has to continue on this pace in the next six months to institutionalize its important work and secure its legacy on these issues," said Duncan Breen, senior associate with Human Rights First's Refugee Protection Program.

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