State Dept Human Rights Report
Expands Gay/HIV Citations
Expands Gay/HIV Citations
The Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance is a local advocacy organization based in Washington, DC, and in addition to creating change at the municipal level, members of the group also devote substantial amounts of time and energy to global gay issues.
Back in 1991, the then-president of GLAA, Barrett Brick, along with Margaret Cantrell and myself representing ACT UP/DC, held a meeting at the U.S. State Department headquarters with the author of that year's annual human rights report.
We asked for the meeting because of a single gay-specific reference, and we wanted to learn how to coordinate with the department to expand gay references in future reports. Needless to say, because of many advocates and organizations, the gay citations have greatly increased since then.
For the past couple of years, GLAA's vice president for political affairs, Rick Rosendall, has culled every gay and HIV/AIDS reference from the yearly human rights survey, and posted them on the GLAA site. So now people interested in these references, instead of having to read through every country's section, can locate all of the pertinent references on a single web page.
Here is a note from Rick about the increasing number of country reports that mention gays and people with AIDS in the yearly survey, with a link to the 2007 extracts:
Friends,I want to offer lots of well-deserved praise to Rick, for he has done all gay and human rights advocates a tremendous and valuable service in extracting the citations and making them available on GLAA's easy to navigate site.
I have gone through the individual pages of the U.S. State Department's
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2007 (released on March 11), and extracted the LGBT- and HIV/AIDS-related items into a single file organized alphabetically by country.
Here's the link.
In the Related Links box on the upper right of that page you will also find links to the similar extracts I did for the previous two years, as well as to relevant web sites.
As usual, I will write a column discussing highlights in the next week or so, but I wanted to post the extracts as soon as possible.
As one indication of progress in the State Department's information gathering on LGBT- and HIV/AIDS issues: In the reports for 2005, I found relevant items under 105 countries. For 2006, the number rose to 142 countries. For 2007, the number has risen to 189 countries (by my quick count).
I just printed a copy, and at 9-point type for the body text the extract goes to 81 pages. This is far less than the thousands of pages of the full State Department Country Reports.
The many gay and HIV/AIDS items in the latest report are crucial to helping LGBT people fleeing persecution in their native countries gain asylum in more gay- and HIV-tolerant nations, and can be used by local and global advocates to generate much-needed attention on the setbacks and advances of human rights practices for gays and AIDS patients around the globe.
I hope other bloggers, along with gay and mainstream reporters, use the publication of the new State Department report and GLAA's extracts as the hooks for blog entries and stories about what's included or omitted this year.