Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights welcomes the appointment of a U.S. Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBT Persons
(February 26 | Washington, D.C.) Kerry Kennedy, President of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, and Santiago A. Canton, Executive Director of RFK Partners for Human Rights, praised Secretary of State John Kerry for establishing a Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBT Persons. The position recognizes that international LGBT human rights must be a foreign policy priority for the United States, especially at a time when LGBT rights are under assault in a number of countries around the world, including Russia, Uganda, and The Gambia.
“The appointment of a Special Envoy for LGBT rights reflects the best of American foreign policy: compassionate, courageous, and dedicated to the rights and liberties of all peoples," said Kerry Kennedy. "The recent passage of an anti-gay law in The Gambia and the threat of similar legislation in other countries make this not only an historic appointment, but a timely one as well.”’
The Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBT Persons will be in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor at the State Department. Randy Berry, currently the Consul General at the United States embassy in the Netherlands, will serve as the first Special Envoy.
Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights has been strongly advocating for the creation of this Special Envoy during the past year. Senator Ed Markey proposed legislation in June 2014 to create a Congressional mandate for such a role. A number of organizations, including Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, wrote to Secretary Kerry in September urging him to create the Special Envoy by his own authority, which he did earlier this week.
“This appointment reflects the view that LGBT rights are fundamental human rights,” noted Santiago A. Canton. “Having a Special Envoy tasked with coordinating United States policy to advance international LGBT rights will be a meaningful addition as we address these issues in the global context. This appointment should spur other countries—as well as international organizations—to establish similar positions.”
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