GLOBE Act introduced in US Senate

U.S. Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) speaks at the Senate Visitors Center on Dec. 10, 2019. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Three U.S. senators on Tuesday introduced a bill that would require the U.S. to continue to promote LGBTQ rights abroad through its foreign policy.

The Greater
Leadership Overseas for the Benefit of Equality (GLOBE) Act
introduced
by U.S. Sens. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Jeff Merkley
(D-Ore.) — would codify into law the position of special U.S. envoy for the
promotion of LGBTQ rights abroad.

The GLOBE Act would also require the State Department to document discrimination and other human rights abuses based on sexual orientation and gender identity around the world and prevent those who commit human rights abuses against LGBTQ people from entering the U.S. The bill also seeks to improve the way the American immigration system treats LGBTQ asylum seekers and refugees.

The GLOBE Act would require the U.S. to work with the Organization of American States and other international institutions to promote LGBTQ rights around the world. The GLOBE Act would also direct the U.S. to protect LGBTQ Foreign Service personnel who are stationed overseas.

Nevada Congresswoman Dina Titus has introduced a version of the GLOBE Act in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“For the United States to hold true to our commitment
to defend the human rights of all people around the world, we must stand with
the LGBTQI community in their struggle for recognition and equality
everywhere,” said Markey during an event the Council for Global Equality
held at the Senate Visitors Center on Capitol Hill. “We cannot stand idle
as LGBTQI persons worldwide continue to endure hatred, violence and
discrimination.”

“U.S. values call us to be allies, to stand up and
protect them, in spite of the Trump administration’s attempts to narrow the
government’s human rights focus and exclude LGBTQI individuals,” added
Markey.

The GLOBE Act’s introduction coincides with International
Human Rights Day, which commemorates the U.N. General Assembly’s ratification
of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on Dec. 10, 1948.

Tuesday’s event began less than two hours after House Democrats announced two articles of impeachment against President Trump over his efforts to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden. The White House’s overall foreign policy and anti-LGBTQ policies in the U.S. have also sparked widespread criticism.

Markey on Tuesday said the State Department’s controversial Commission
on Unalienable Rights
“excludes LGBTQI persons.” Markey also criticized
the Trump administration’s 2018 decision to
withdraw
the U.S. from the U.N. Human Rights Council.

“The Trump administration seeks to undermine the very
institutions we built and convened over the past seven decades,” said
Markey.

“As President Trump cozies up to world dictators,
defends human rights abusers, turns a blind eye to war crimes, the world is a
far more dangerous place,” he added. “Trump has made life more
dangerous for LGBTQI persons by attempting to erase them from reports, from
laws and from public life. We will not allow this to happen.”

Roxsana Hernández, a transgender woman from Honduras with
HIV, died
on May 25, 2018, at a New Mexico hospital while in ICE custody. Johana
“Joa” Medina León, a trans woman from El Salvador with HIV, died
at a Texas hospital on June 1, three days after her release from the Otero
County Processing Center in Chaparral, N.M., where she had been in ICE custody.

Yariel
Valdés González,
a Washington Blade contributor from Cuba who won asylum in
the U.S. in Cuba, is among the tens of thousands of people who remain in U.S.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody.

A transgender woman eats inside a unit for transgender detainees in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody at the Cibola County Correctional Center in Milan, N.M., on June 6, 2019. (Photo public domain)

Immigrant rights activists say the deaths of Hernández and Medina highlight the mistreatment that LGBTQ migrants and asylum seekers face while in ICE custody. The GLOBE Act also notes these concerns.

“Asylum
and refugee protection are critical last-resort protections for LGBTI
individuals, but those who seek such protections face ostracization and abuse
in refugee camps and detention facilities,” reads the bill. “They are
frequently targeted for violence, including sexual assault, in refugee camps
and in immigration detention. LGBTI individuals may be segregated against their
will for long periods in solitary confinement, in an effort to protect them
from such violence, but prolonged solitary confinement itself represents an
additional form of abuse that is profoundly damaging to the social and
psychological well-being of any individual.”

Bill reaffirms US ‘promotes equality and justice’

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro in March reiterated his opposition to “gender ideology” and his government’s “respect of traditional family values” when he spoke alongside Trump in the White House Rose Garden.

The
State Department’s special U.S. envoy for the promotion of LGBTQ rights abroad
remains unfilled; but Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Democracy,
Human Rights and Labor Scott
Busby’s bio
notes LGBTQ rights are among the issues that are part of his
portfolio. The Trump administration earlier this year tapped openly gay U.S.
Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell to spearhead a
campaign
that encourages countries to decriminalize consensual same-sex
sexual relations.

The
State Department has publicly
criticized
Brunei’s decision to implement a provision of its new penal code
that sought to impose the death penalty upon anyone convicted of homosexuality.
The State Department has also condemned
the anti-LGBTQ crackdown in Chechnya.

The
Trump administration in 2017 sanctioned
Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov under the Magnitsky Act, which freezes the
assets of Russians who commit human rights abuses and bans them from entering
the U.S. The White House in September banned
Mariela Castro, the daughter of former Cuban President Raúl Castro who publicly
spearheads LGBTQ issues in Cuba, from traveling to the U.S.

The
State Department’s annual human rights reports also contain information about
LGBTQ rights.

“With the introduction of the GLOBE Act today, we make
clear and reaffirm today that the United States promotes equality and justice
in its foreign policy,” said Markey.

Published at Wed, 11 Dec 2019 02:09:35 +0000