After Ethiopia, perhaps other critiques of gay rights reports

Human Rights Report coverThe Council for Global Equality is seeking help from activists worldwide in pushing the United States to do a better job of supporting LGBT rights around the world.  In particular, the council is inviting comments about newly released U.S. reports on human rights.

Julie Dorf, senior advisor at the council, singled out as an example of what it’s looking for a recent critique of the reports’ brief discussion of LGBT rights in Ethiopia. That critique appeared in this blog under the heading “Ethiopian LGBTs need help to halt abuses.”

For any activists seeking assistance in formulating their critiques, as was the case of the Ethiopian one, please contact this blog’s editor at cestewart (at)

Here is Dorf’s request for further feedback:

As you may know, last week the United States put out its annual human rights report for 2012. As the organization in the U.S. that tries to hold our government accountable for inclusive human rights policies, we are very interested in the feedback from activists around the world about the coverage of sexual orientation and gender identity [SOGI] issues in this year’s report.

Since 2010 there is a dedicated section in each country report entitled “Societal Abuses, Discrimination, and Acts of Violence Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.” The full compilation of the SOGI sections for the 2012 report can be found our website. We also attempted this year to do a thematic analysis of the report, which we will be posting on our site later this week. The full report is available with a greatly improved search function at if you want to just look at the full report on your own or other countries.

We welcome private or public critiques of the report, so that we may try every year to help the government improve its SOGI reporting in particular. A great example of such a critique is this recent one on Ethiopia: China’s critique that was just posted is of course, an annual political exchange between our two countries. Thankfully, the U.S. does report on its own human rights record as part of the UPR, ICCPR and other mechanisms — but not in it’s annual human rights reports about the rest of the world, mandated by Congress.

The content and quality of the annual report does somewhat reflect the relationship between the US Embassy and local civil society organizations. If your group hasn’t engaged much with the embassy and wishes to, we encourage you to use this resource (in English, Spanish and French) as a guide to engaging with the Embassy:

Lastly, the Council wishes to better track the instances of US government funding of actively homophobic entities, which undermines our country’s stated human rights policies. Thanks to the collaboration with partners on the ground, we’ve been able to track down a few groups in a couple of countries getting US government funds that are actively pursuing an anti-gay agenda in country. But we really don’t know if that is the “tip of the iceberg” or if the problem isn’t actually too widespread. If you are concerned about US government funding of anti-LGBT groups in your country, please let us know so we may be able to jointly pursue a potential strategy.

Thank you very much to anyone who has the time and inclination to provide feedback on these issues.


Julie Dorf, Senior Advisor
Council for Global Equality
Advancing an American Foreign Policy Inclusive of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
(202) 719-0511 or home office (415) 948 7494

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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