The Global Respect Act would empower the US to uphold LGBTQI human rights around the world

A new report by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law examines the scope and potential impact of the Global Respect Act. It also provides examples of documented human rights violations against LGBTQI persons in Europe, Africa, Asia, and North and South America that could be sanctionable under the act. 

In June 2023, a bipartisan coalition in the U.S. Congress reintroduced the Global Respect Act (GRA). The GRA would empower the State Department to impose targeted sanctions, such as visa bans, on foreign individuals who are found to have violated the internationally recognized human rights of LGBTQI people.  

Sanctions could be imposed for various human rights violations such as torture, cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment; prolonged detention without charges and trial; abduction and clandestine detention; and other flagrant denials of the right to life, liberty, or security of LGBTQI people. The GRA would also mandate reporting on human rights violations against LGBQI people through the State Department’s annual country reports. 

There is precedent for sanctioning individual human rights abusers. President Biden has already imposed targeted sanctions on Ugandan officials in response to the country’s Anti-Homosexuality Act under various authorities of the Immigration and Nationality Act and the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act. 

“While we have seen sanctions imposed under existing law, the GRA would be novel in creating a mechanism specifically targeting individuals who commit violations against LGBTQI people,” said study co-author Ari Shaw, Senior Fellow and Director of International Programs at the Williams Institute. “It would provide an important policy tool for promoting the rights of LGBTQI people around the world by holding perpetrators of human rights abuses accountable.”  

The report also highlights documented cases of gross human rights violations against LGBTQI people, reflecting the potential impact of this legislation in every region of the world. “More than 60 countries still criminalize consensual same-sex conduct, which creates a dangerous environment that puts LGBTQI people at risk of violence,” said study co-author Lindsay Mahowald, Research Data Analyst at the Williams Institute. “The GRA would help ensure the United States is monitoring the harmful effects of those laws and other discriminatory policies on LGBTQI individuals worldwide.” 

Read the report  

March 21, 2024

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