Put gay rights at centre of US foreign aid – Obama orders

President Obama

US President Barack Obama has issued a directive to all state agencies to put the protection of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights at the centre of US assistance and diplomacy.

“I am directing all agencies engaged abroad to ensure that US diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons,” said Obama today December 6, 2011 in a presidential memoranda cited on the White House website.

Obama said “For the purposes of this memorandum, agencies engaged abroad include the Departments of State, the Treasury, Defense, Justice, Agriculture, Commerce, Health and Human Services, and Homeland Security, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the Export Import Bank, the United States Trade Representative, and such other agencies as the President may designate.”

President Obama was also “deeply concerned” about the violence and discrimination targeting LGBT persons around the world saying whether “it is passing laws that criminalize LGBT status, beating citizens simply for joining peaceful LGBT pride celebrations, or killing men, women, and children for their perceived sexual orientation.”

Our deep commitment to advancing the human rights of all people is strengthened when we as the United States bring our tools to bear to vigorously to advance this goal, he added.

By Ekow Quandzie

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