A United Nations report released late last month slams the US for not doing enough to protect gay citizens from discrimination and abuse.
The UN Human Rights Committee’s July 28 report says the US must undertake efforts to combat anti-gay job discrimination and hate crimes.
The report “notes with concern” the absence of such protections.
Gay and human rights groups that have pushed for stronger pro-gay laws welcomed the findings, reports The Washington Blade.
“The challenge now is for human rights activists back home in the US to use this as another tool – and additional leverage – to force the US to do what it’s required to under US law,” said Mark Bromley, spokesperson for the human rights group Global Rights, The Blade reports.
“We will certainly be asking for meetings with the US government to discuss this finding, and point out how embarrassing it is for an international human rights body to find such serious violations here in the US.”
The findings came days after a US delegation appeared last month in Geneva to defend the country’s record on gay rights and other issues.
During that appearance, US officials noted, “There is always more work to be done to safeguard human rights,” and reiterated their commitment to equal rights.
Justice Department spokesperson Wan Kim told the UN Human Rights Committee that the US maintains a “profound and lasting commitment to equality.”
But Mr Bromley, who attended the committee hearing in Geneva, said the UN disagreed.
“I think the Human Rights Committee is pointing out the obvious gaps in human rights protections in the US,” he said, reports The Blade, “and is giving human rights and LGBT activists in the U.S. an opportunity to really take the U.S. government to task for its failure to protect human rights.”
But a statement from the US delegation that travelled to Geneva challenged the U.N. report’s findings.
“On some fundamental matters we do not agree with the committee,” it says, “and are disappointed with the committee’s finding on these matters.”
The UN report is the second document in recent weeks to call for enhanced protections of gay Americans.
In a report released July 17, Global Rights alleges several “major gaps” in existing protections. The report – titled “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Human Rights in the United States” – was an unprecedented compilation of allegations from 11 organisations that work on gay rights issues.
It chides the US for failing to enact any “standardised non-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.”
Mr Bromley told The Blade that the report, which was written for the UN Human Rights Committee, appeared to strongly influence the committee’s report.
The UN report says the US “should ensure that federal and state law address sexual orientation-related violence in its hate crime legislation,” and “outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in its federal and state employment legislation.”
© 2006 GayWired; All Rights Reserved.