Two U.S. senators on Tuesday reintroduced a bill that would sanction foreign nationals who are responsible for human rights abuses against LGBTQ people.
Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) reintroduced the Global Respect Act. Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) have co-sponsored the measure.
“No one should be subjected to discrimination — ever, but sadly we see it happening every day and to utmost extreme forms,” said Murkowski in a press release. “This bill sends a strong signal that the United States prioritizes equality for all and puts human rights front and center — that we won’t stand by idly and let persecution to any group of people go unnoticed or without consequence. By creating and strengthening repercussions for those who carry out human rights violations, my hope is that we prevent it from happening in the first place.”
Shaheen added it is “unconscionable that LGBTI communities around the world face persecution, jail and murder because of who they love and how they identify.”
“The U.S. has a moral imperative to make clear to the international community that LGBTI rights are human rights,” said the New Hampshire Democrat. “I’m proud to lead this bipartisan effort to hold accountable individuals who trample on the rights of their citizens by committing clear human rights violations. This bill empowers the administration with enhanced authority to ensure violators face repercussions and expand protections for LGBTI folks around the world.”
Shaheen in 2016 sponsored a version of the Global Respect Act. Rhode Island Congressman first introduced the bill in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2014.
President Biden in February signed a memorandum that committed the U.S. to promoting LGBTQ rights abroad. State Department spokesperson Ned Price told the Washington Bladelast month that responding to human rights abuses based on a person’s gender identity and sexual orientation is one of the White House’s five global LGBTQ rights priorities.
The State Department last July banned Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov from traveling to the U.S. because of his “involvement in gross violations of human rights in the Chechen Republic” that includes a continued anti-LGBTQ crackdown. The U.S. in 2017 sanctioned Kadyrov under the Magnitsky Act, a law that freezes the assets of Russian citizens who commit human rights abuses and prevents them from obtaining U.S. visas.
The U.S. in 2017 sanctioned then-Gambian President Yahya Jammeh, who carried out an anti-LGBTQ crackdown in his country, under an expanded version of the Magnitsky Act known as the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.