ILGA Europe 17th conference, Zagreb, October 24-26: Advancing the Human Rights of LGBT Persons in Europe and Beyond

Uzra Zeya, representative of the US government:

“I was honored to represent the United States government at the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) Europe’s Annual Conference, held in Zagreb, Croatia yesterday.  Before an audience of more than 250 activists from 45 countries across Europe, I affirmed the strong U.S. commitment to advance the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons in Europe and beyond.  While noting some positive developments in Europe, such as anti-discrimination and hate crime measures, I also expressed deep concern about negative trends in a number of countries in the region. The Anti-Gay Propaganda law in Russia, for example, has led to an increase in harassment and violence targeting LGBT persons.  Similar laws have been proposed or are being discussed in other European countries. And we heard at ILGA how such laws validate discrimination and lead to an increase in violence and intimidation.

In December 2011, the Department launched the Global Equality Fund to support civil society programs and projects that respond to human rights backsliding and advance the human rights of LGBT persons.  Since the its launch, the Fund has allocated more than $7.5 million to civil society in  more than 50 countries worldwide, including Europe, to help support efforts to challenge discriminatory legislation, build organizational capacity and document human rights abuses that target LGBT persons.  As a public-private partnership, the Fund is a collaboration of over a dozen foreign governments, private foundations, and corporations.”