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US appoints special envoy for human rights of LGBTs

The United States named its first international envoy for LGBT human rights, Randy Berry, tasking the veteran diplomat with leading US efforts to fight violence and discrimination against LGBT individuals outside of the US.

Randy BerryVeteran diplomat Randy Berry has been named as the first international envoy for gay rights of the US, leading efforts to fight violence and discrimination against LGBT individuals outside the US.

Berry is currently the consul general in Amsterdam. He has served at US posts in Bangladesh, Egypt, Uganda and South Africa; and he speaks Spanish and Arabic.

“Defending and promoting the human rights of LGBT persons is at the core of our commitment to advancing human rights globally – the heart and conscience of our diplomacy. That’s why we’re working to overturn laws that criminalize consensual same-sex conduct in countries around the world. It’s why we’re building our capacity to respond rapidly to violence against LGBT persons, and it’s why we’re working with governments, civil society, and the private sector through the Global Equality Fund to support programs advancing the human rights of LGBT persons worldwide,” said US Secretary of State John Kerry in a press statement.

More than 75 countries still criminalize consensual same-sex activity.

Kerry noted that “too often, in too many countries, LGBT persons are threatened, jailed, and prosecuted because of who they are or who they love. Too many governments have proposed or enacted laws that aim to curb freedom of expression, association, religion, and peaceful protest.”

“While this fight is not yet won, this is no time to get discouraged. It’s time to stay active. It’s time to assert the equality and dignity of all persons, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity. And with (Berry) helping to lead our efforts, I am confident that’s exactly what we can and will do,” Kerry ended.

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