Two U.S. senators on Thursday introduced a bill that would sanction those who commit abuses against LGBTQ and intersex people abroad.
U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) introduced the Global Respect Act. U.S. Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) and Sara Jacobs (D-Calif.) have sponsored an identical bill in the U.S. House of Representatives.
A press release from Shaheen’s office notes the Global Respect Act would do the following:
• Require the Executive Branch to biannually send Congress a list of foreign persons responsible for, or complicit in cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment of an individual; prolonged detention of an individual without charges or trials; causing the disappearance of an individual by abduction and clandestine detention of an individual; other flagrant denials of the right to life, liberty or the security of an individual;
• Authorize the administration to deny or revoke visas to individuals placed on the list;
• Require the annual State Department Report on Human Rights to include a section on LGBTI international human rights, as well as an annual report to Congress on the status of the law’s effectiveness; and
• Require the Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor to designate a senior officer responsible for tracking violence, criminalization and restrictions on the enjoyment of fundamental freedoms in foreign countries based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
“It’s unconscionable that LGBTQI communities around the world face persecution, jail and murder because of who they love and how they identify. These communities should be free to express who they are, love who they love and enjoy all the same basic human rights as anyone else. The U.S. has a moral imperative to make clear to the international community that LGBTI rights are human rights, and that we will work to protect these communities regardless of where they are in the world,” said Shaheen. “That’s why I’m leading this bipartisan effort to empower the administration with enhanced authority to bring human rights violators to justice while expanding protections for LGBTQI individuals around the world.”
Murkowski further noted “members of the LGBTQI community” in countries around the world “are subject to discrimination and harm every day.”
“We should not tolerate violence against any group of people,” said the Alaska Republican. “By creating and strengthening consequences for those who carry out human rights violations, my hope is that we prevent it from happening in the first place.”
President Joe Biden in 2021 signed a memorandum that committed the U.S. to promoting LGBTQ and intersex rights abroad as part of the Biden-Harris administration’s overall foreign policy.