Hilary Clinton has stressed the need to end discrimination against lesbians and gay men.

Speaking at a question-and-answer session with young Europeans in Brussels, the US secretary of state told her audience that homophobic attacks were occurring on a worrying scale and were even being “condoned and protected”.

In an answer to a Moldovan gay rights activist who was wearing an ‘I Love Hilary’ tshirt, she said:

“Human rights is and always will be one of the pillars of our foreign policy. In particular, persecution and discrimination against gays and lesbians is something we take very seriously.

“I can only hope that we all live long enough to see the end to this kind of discriminatory treatment and recognition that human rights are the inalienable rights of every person no matter who that person loves.”

Ms Clinton also discussed two-party democracy, climate change and healthcare, receiving a standing ovation at the end of her visit.