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June 12, 2009

UN Human Rights Council 11th Session – Side Event

Statement by the Delegation of the United States
Delivered by Acting Deputy Chief of Mission, Lawrence Richter

Friday, 12 June, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Room XVIII, Palais des Nations

The United States is pleased to co-sponsor this important discussion on sexual orientation and gender identity and to have the opportunity to highlight our support for the UN General Assembly Statement on “Human Rights, Sexual Orientation, and Gender Identity.” We are committed to the principle of human dignity enshrined in that Statement and in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights documents.

On the first day of this month, President Obama proclaimed June 2009 Lesbian Gay bisexual and Transgender Pride Month. In doing so he called upon the people of the United States to turn back discrimination and prejudice everywhere it exists. At the international level, he made clear the United States has joined efforts to decriminalize homosexuality around the world. Secretary of State Clinton, in her Pride Day statement, pledged to advance a comprehensive human rights agenda that includes the elimination of violence and discrimination against people based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Unfortunately, there are numerous countries that continue to criminalize consensual homosexual conduct. Gays and lesbians in many parts of the world live under constant threat of arrest, violence, even torture. Such persecution is a violation of human rights and an affront to human decency, and it must end.

Again, we are grateful for this opportunity to remind countries of the importance of respecting the human rights of all people, and of committing to achieve a world in which all people can live in safety and freedom. We look forward to partnering with others here at the Human Rights Council to fully protect and uphold the human rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals.