CDA Jones Celebrates LGBTI Rights as Human Rights

Media Notice
For Immediate Release

Today American Chargé d’Affaires a.i. Ambassador Richard H. Jones hosted a reception in honor of “LGBTI Rights as Human Rights” at his residence at the U.S. Embassy.  In attendance were alumni of Embassy educational and cultural exchange programs, board members of non-profit organizations working on human rights issues, representatives from other foreign missions in Lebanon, and television and media personalities. The reception featured remarks by Ambassador Jones.

The promotion and protection of the human rights of LGBTI persons is a core piece of United States foreign policy.  The Embassy’s efforts are guided by President Obama’s December 2011 Presidential Memorandum, which directs federal departments and agencies to combat the criminalization of LGBTI status or conduct abroad; protect vulnerable LGBTI refugees or asylum seekers; enhance assistance to protect human rights and advance nondiscrimination policies for LGBTI persons; and help ensure swift and meaningful responses to human rights abuses of LGBTI persons abroad.

Below are some excerpts from Ambassador Jones’s remarks from the reception as prepared for delivery:

When we talk about the human rights of LGBTI persons, the U.S. government is not promoting “special rights.”  It is about equality.  It is a violation of human rights when a person is beaten or killed or denied access to justice and services due to their gender, race or religious belief, and it is also a violation of human rights when this occurs because of a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

Our embassies around the world regularly engage with civil society and with host governments on human rights concerns that specifically affect LGBTI persons.  We work to support law reform efforts and to ensure greater legal protections for LGBTI persons.  We’re taking a hard look at hate crimes targeting LGBTI persons – leveraging our security relationships to make sure police support contributes to awareness and does not undermine LGBTI rights.

LGBTI equality is not, and should not be, merely a political or diplomatic issue – the promotion of the dignity and human rights of LGBTI persons helps protect all of us.  While I certainly recognize the important responsibility governments have in diffusing social discord and fostering equal protection for all, it is clear that in our interconnected and interdependent world, it is the responsibility of all of us – governments, civil society, media, and business – working together to take a strong stand against discrimination and injustice.