Reporting from Washington — The Obama administration Tuesday called on the U.N. Human Rights Council to fight discrimination against gays and lesbians around the world.
"Human rights are the inalienable right of every person, no matter who they are or who they love," Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe, U.S. ambassador to the council in Geneva, said in a statement. "The U.S. government is firmly committed to supporting the right of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals to lead productive and dignified lives, free from fear and violence."
The council has condemned human rights violations based on sexual orientation or gender identity, including rape, torture and murder.
"It is a really pressing issue globally that there continue to be killings on the basis of sexual orientation and persecution on that basis," said Suzanne Nossel, deputy assistant secretary of State for international organization affairs. "I think this will stimulate dialogue and increase recognition of the importance of the issue among governments."
The Obama administration's expression of support for U.N. action on the issue marks a change from George W. Bush's presidency. His administration generally sidestepped the issue in the United Nations.