Current Affairs

After rejecting calls for LGBT envoy, government appoints women’s rights envoy

Nick Duffy February 28, 2017
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The UK Foreign Office has appointed a a new special envoy for gender equality… despite flatly rejecting calls for an LGBT rights envoy.

Former US President Barack Obama created the post of a Special Envoy for LGBT Rights in 2015, to monitor the situation on LGBT equality across the world and to present the US government’s case for reform.

In the UK, former Labour leader Ed Miliband had also pledged to create a Special Envoy on Global LGBT Rights – but the Conservatives rejected the case for the role.

Flatly rejecting calls in a previous interview with PinkNews, equalities minister Caroline Dinenage said: “I think internationally, all of our representatives that go overseas and work overseas should be LGBT envoys. I don’t think we should necessarily have one… I think they should all be promoting these issues and bringing them up.”

Meanwhile Tory minister David Lidington said: “We do not believe that appointing a UK special envoy for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people would be the best way to protect their rights.”

Given the flat rejection, we were a bit surprised to see the FCO has now appointed Joanne Roper as the Special Envoy for Gender Equality to work on women’s rights issues around the world.

A statement explains that the Special “Envoy is responsible for promoting this agenda across the FCO, by encouraging bold and ambitious policy making and programme support and developing and leading a network of FCO gender champions to support colleagues in doing so”.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson wrote in the Standard: “Today, the appalling truth is that about 61 million girls between the ages of five and 14 are deprived of an education across the world.

“In countries like Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan, there are millions of girls who never get the chance to enter a classroom.

“In some places, the schools do not exist; in others, prejudice, violence and poverty deny girls the education that is their right. Whatever the reason, this failure to allow every girl to attend school is holding back entire societies.”

Related topics: Boris Johnson, England, Mayor of London, out and proud

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