Tag Archives: White House Press Release

White House Press Release For The Rights of LGBT Persons at the Human Rights Council

Office of the Spokesman
For Immediate Release March 22, 2011

Joint Statement on the Rights of LGBT Persons at the Human Rights Council

At the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva 85 countries joined a Joint Statement entitled “Ending Acts of Violence and Related Human Rights Violations Based On Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.” This follows previous statements on the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons issued at the United Nations, including a 2006 statement by 54 countries at the Human Rights Council, and a 2008 statement that has garnered 67 countries’ support at the General Assembly. The United States is amongst the signatory states to both previous efforts. The United States co-chaired the core group of countries that have worked to submit this statement, along with Colombia and Slovenia.

Key facts about the new statement:

A core group of over 30 countries engaged in discussions and sought signatures from other UN member states for the statement. In many places, United States diplomats joined diplomats from other states for these conversations.

This statement adds new references not seen in previous LGBT statements at the UN, including: welcoming attention to LGBT issues as a part of the Universal Periodic Review process, noting the increased attention to LGBT issues in regional human rights fora, encouraging the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to continue addressing LGBT issues, and calls for states to end criminal sanctions based on LGBT status.

20 countries joined this statement that were neither signatory to the 2006 or 2008 statements.

The statement garnered support from every region of the world, including 21 signatories from the Western Hemisphere, 43 from Europe, 5 from Africa, and 16 from the Asia/Pacific region.

The full list of signatories and text of the statement follows:

Joint statement on ending acts of violence and related human rights violations based on sexual orientation & gender identity.

Delivered by Colombia on behalf of: Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, the Central African Republic, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the former-Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Malta, the Marshall Islands, Mexico, Micronesia, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Rwanda, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tuvalu, the United States of America, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Ukraine, Uruguay, Vanuatu, and Venezuela

1. We recall the previous joint statement on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity, presented at the Human Rights Council in 2006;

2. We express concern at continued evidence in every region of acts of violence and related human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity brought to the Council’s attention by Special Procedures since that time, including killings, rape, torture and criminal sanctions;

3. We recall the joint statement in the General Assembly on December 18, 2008 on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity, supported by States from all five regional groups, and encourage States to consider joining the statement;

4. We commend the attention paid to these issues by international human rights mechanisms including relevant Special Procedures and treaty bodies and welcome continued attention to human rights issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity within the context of the Universal Periodic Review. As the United Nations Secretary General reminded us in his address to this Council at its Special Sitting of 25 January 2011, the Universal Declaration guarantees all human beings their basic rights without exception, and when individuals are attacked, abused or imprisoned because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, the international community has an obligation to respond;

5. We welcome the positive developments on these issues in every region in recent years, such as the resolutions on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity adopted by consensus in each of the past three years by the General Assembly of the Organization of American States, the initiative of the Asia-Pacific Forum on National Human Rights Institutions to integrate these issues within the work of national human rights institutions in the region, the recommendations of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, the increasing attention being paid to these issues by the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, and the many positive legislative and policy initiatives adopted by States at the national level in diverse regions;

6. We note that the Human Rights Council must also play its part in accordance with its mandate to “promote universal respect for the protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without discrimination of any kind, and in a fair and equal manner” (GA 60/251, OP 2);

7. We acknowledge that these are sensitive issues for many, including in our own societies. We affirm the importance of respectful dialogue, and trust that there is common ground in our shared recognition that no-one should face stigmatisation, violence or abuse on any ground. In dealing with sensitive issues, the Council must be guided by the principles of universality and non-discrimination;

8. We encourage the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to continue to address human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity and to explore opportunities for outreach and constructive dialogue to enhance understanding and awareness of these issues within a human rights framework;

9. We recognise our broader responsibility to end human rights violations against all those who are marginalised and take this opportunity to renew our commitment to addressing discrimination in all its forms;

10. We call on States to take steps to end acts of violence, criminal sanctions and related human rights violations committed against individuals because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, encourage Special Procedures, treaty bodies and other stakeholders to continue to integrate these issues within their relevant mandates, and urge the Council to address these important human rights issues.

Isn’t that special.

As much as I applaud the fact that many countries where LGBT individuals who have it much worse than we do here and have signed on.  How pompous and arrogant can the United States be to blow their own horn on being included and leading the charge when they themselves treat us, LGBT Americans as second class citizens that have even less rights than our brothers and sisters in Canada, The United Kingdom and most other European countries.

The hypocrisy astounds me.

White House Announces An Additional 25 Million Dollars In AIDS Relief, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) Denounces It "As Too Little, Too Late"

In a Press Release Statement from the HHS Press Office that Back2Stonewall has recieved, comes the announcement that Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius will be reallocating $25 million for AIDS Drug Assistance to help provide resources to States that have AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) waiting lists or have implemented strategies to contain costs and delay or prevent a waiting list.

From the HSS Press Release:

This week, we improved access to critical HIV/AIDS prescription drugs and are continuing to work towards preventing, and ultimately eliminating, the need for ADAP waiting lists. Governors will soon receive a letter detailing how to access these funds. The Administration has been steadily increasing funding and while this is a significant infusion of funds, on top of more than $800 million already specifically allocated to the ADAP Program this year, the Federal government cannot do this alone–States and Pharmaceutical companies also need to do their part.

Improving access to care and treatment for people living with HIV is a top priority for HHS. These funds are just one part of a broader effort we are making to improve the health status of people living with HIV. Created under the Affordable Care Act, the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan will provide a new health coverage option for Americans who have been uninsured for at least six months and have been unable to get health coverage because of a health condition—including HIV. This option will be available until 2014, when insurers will be banned from discriminating against adults with pre-existing conditions.

In response the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization hosted press teleconference to denounce an Obama administration plan to address AIDS drug crisis with an insufficient $25 million as “too little, too late.”

Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation responds:

Currently, 2090 people are on waiting lists to receive AIDS medications. In May, a person on an ADAP waiting list in South Carolina died while on the waiting list. If the Obama administration plan serves as the only so-called ‘fix’ for this dangerous situation, we can be assured that the list of those waiting for lifesaving AIDS drugs will only increase and more deaths will follow. Considering the fact that individuals who are successful on treatment are far less able to transmit the virus than those who are not, the Obama plan could also have negative consequences on current HIV/AIDS prevention efforts, demonstrating a serious disregard for public health.

The letter from HHS states that an allocation of $25 million will be sufficient to respond to the current and projected need through the end of Fiscal Year 2010. However, this amount neglects to take into account future uncertainty regarding budget cuts and the rate at which waiting lists are growing. For example, the Florida ADAP expects to add between 250 and 300 new patients per month to the current waiting list.

In an effort to address the crisis, Senators Burr, Coburn and Enzi introduced S. 3401, the ACCESS ADAP Act, a bill which provides $126 million in unobligated stimulus funds to eliminate waiting lists through Fiscal Year 2010. The bill failed to gain the support of the administration or Congress. The $126 million was a number provided by state AIDS director as the amount of additional federal funding required to meet current program needs given the number of people on waiting lists, expected number of new patients and budget cuts per state.

Given that the cost to provide AIDS medications is roughly $10,000 per patient, per year—the $25 million in additional funding proposed by the Obama administration would barely be enough to cover the 2,090 currently on waiting lists—without taking into account new patients enrolling and further state budget cuts”

In the meantime this year Congress has appropriated an additional $136.8 billion for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for the 2010 fiscal year. National Priorities Project estimates that for this fiscal year, $64.5 billion is directed to Iraq and $72.3 billion to Afghanistan.  But only 125 million dollars more in AIDS funding here at home could save the lives, ease the suffering, and help to to solve this urgent AIDS crisis in America and thats hard for them to do?