“Because I believe, and our government believes, that gay rights are human rights, we remain extremely concerned about state-sanctioned homophobia,” says US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as countries across the globe report back about their human rights practices.
It’s the latest in a string of situations in which the United States has spoken out about the mistreatment of LGBTI people around the world.
The senior diplomat then got specific about a notoriously anti-gay African nation: “In Uganda, for example, homosexuality remains illegal, and people are being harassed, discriminated against, threatened, and intimidated.”
When Clinton became Secretary of State in 2009, she ordered formal reporting on gay rights to be included in the annual human rights country reports. The 2010 report reflects the first such report that includes a new emphasis on LGBT rights and a renewed emphasis on women’s rights in more than 190 of countries throughout the world.
OUR RIGHTS IN OZ
Here’s how Australia reported back to the US about its own human rights issues in terms of sexual orientation and gender identity:
In 2008 and 2009, the government amended 84 laws to eliminate discrimination against same-sex couples and their children in a wide range of areas, including taxes, child support, immigration, pensions, and social security.
Gay pride marches took place in major cities during the year; such marches were authorized by the government, and police provided sufficient protection to participants.
In August a man was charged with assault occasioning bodily harm in relation to an attack on a gay rights activist in Sydney. The victim stated that the accused had made violent homophobic comments toward him. The case was pending at year’s end. On December 10, three teenagers were sentenced to prison terms for the January assault of a gay couple in the Queensland town of Maryborough.
The HREOC received 19 complaints of employment discrimination based on sexual orientation from July 2009 through June 2010.
Each country’s 2010 Report on Human Rights Practices is available on this page of the US Department of State website. Specific information on LGBTI issues can be found by searching ‘sexual orientation’ on any country’s report page.