Monday, January 23, 2006

State Dept Omits Gays from Human Rights NGOs List

The following letter was transmitted via email and postal mail today.

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
U.S. State Department
Washington, DC

Dear Madam Secretary:

The State Department's bureau of human rights lists non-governmental organizations working on human rights protections and issues and is rather diverse, except for the fact that not one gay human rights group is among those listed.

I write today to request that you immediately add the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission to the list and that the State Department link to IGLHRC's web site.

As a gay American deeply concerned about human rights matters, I applaud my State Department linking to the following non-governmental organizations:

American Civil Liberties Union
American Center for International Labor Solidarity
Amnesty International
Committee to Protect Journalists
Forum 18
Freedom House
Human Rights Watch
International IDEA [International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance]
International Republican Institute
The Iraq Foundation
Lawyers Committee for Human Rights
National Conference on Soviet Jewry
National Democratic Institute
National Endowment for Democracy
National Urban League
U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

Of course, a link from the State Department web site to any of those groups does not constitute an endorsement of them or the information contained on their sites.

Considering your agency's detailed attention to human rights practices pertaining to gays around the world, which are included in your annual human rights reports, I believe it behooves the State Department to include IGLHRC on your non-governmental organizations links page to better insure the annual report is as comprehensive as possible.

A prompt reply is requested and appreciated.

Michael Petrelis
San Francisco, CA

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