Jamaican man assaulted after using gay dating app

The United States regained a seat on the UN Human Rights Council on Thursday, three years after the previous administration’s withdrawal.

The United States won the council elections alongside Argentina, Benin, Cameroon, Eritrea, Finland, Gambia, Honduras, India, Kazakhstan, Lithuania , Luxembourg, Malaysia, Montenegro, Paraguay, Qatar, Somalia and United Arab Emirates.

In recent years, the council has established itself as a champion of LGBTQ rights around the world, although Cuba and other countries with a poor human rights record are among the 47 countries currently members. Venezuela and Russia are also on the council.

Yoan de la Cruz, a gay man who used Facebook Live to broadcast live the first of two dozen anti-government protests that took place in Cuba on July 11, remains in custody and faces eight years in prison. Last month, the Washington Blade spoke to several Venezuelan LGBTQ activists who said the persecution forced them to flee to neighboring Colombia.

Russia’s crackdown on LGBTQ rights and the Kremlin’s close relationship with Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov continue to draw criticism around the world.

Then-US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley at a 2018 press conference that announced the US withdrawal from the Council, noted that Cuba and other countries “with a record unambiguous and odious in human rights “are members. Haley also said the council had a “chronic bias against” Israel.

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said in a statement Thursday that LGBTQ rights will be a top priority for the United States once it officially joins the council on the 1st. January.

“Our initial efforts as full members of the Council will focus on what we can accomplish in situations of great need, such as Afghanistan, Burma, China, Ethiopia, Syria and Yemen,” a- she declared. “More generally, we will promote respect for fundamental freedoms and women’s rights, and we will oppose religious intolerance, racial and ethnic injustices, as well as violence and discrimination against members of minority groups, including LGBTQI + people and people with disabilities. And we will oppose the council’s disproportionate focus on Israel, which includes the only standing item on the council’s agenda targeting a single country.

President Biden issued a memorandum in February committing the United States to promoting LGBTQ rights abroad.

The previous White House appealed to then-US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell to lead a campaign that encouraged countries to decriminalize consensual gay sex, but many LGBTQ activists in the United States and the world have questioned its effectiveness. In August, the Washington Blade filed a federal complaint against the State Department for soliciting Grenell’s emails regarding its work on the decriminalization initiative.

“The President and Sec. Blinken has placed democracy and human rights, essential cornerstones of peace and stability, at the center of our foreign policy, ”State Department spokesman Ned Price said Thursday after the United States has regained a seat on the Council. “We have pursued these values ​​with enthusiasm and sincerity in our relationships around the world. ”

“We will use our position to renew the Council’s attention to the fundamental principles of human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Charter of the United Nations, which underpin the founding of the Council”, Price added at the start of his daily press briefing. “Our aim is to hold the UN Human Rights Council accountable for the highest aspirations of its mandate and to spur the actions necessary to carry them out.

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