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Human Rights Council Statements

March Joint Statement at the Human Rights Council in 2011

United States views on international law (based on the document “Digest of U.S. Practice in International Law”): In March 2011, the United States co-chaired and led the international lobbying effort on a joint statement on “Ending Acts of Violence and Related Human Rights Violations Based On Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity” at the Human Rights Council, which was signed by 85 countries—18 more than signed onto any previous United Nations statement on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (“LGBT”) issues. This was also the first such statement to call for the decriminalization of LGBT status. In remarks available at (internet link), Ambassador Rice announced the statement:


As the United States continues the U.S. important work in the Human Rights Council this week, we are proud to recognize a historic statement, signed by a record 85 nations, reaffirming the rights of all people—regardless of who they are and whom they love. More nations than ever believe that violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity must end. The United States is proud to lend the U.S. strong support to this growing consensus and to work towards a world in which all gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals can live free from fear of persecution, discrimination, or assault.

We will continue to stand firm in the Human Rights Council on behalf of all those who are at risk of violence and discrimination. And we will continue to work to ensure that rights that are universally held are universally protected.

The White House also issued a statement, available at (internet link), hailing the March joint statement at the Human Rights Council:


Over the past months the U.S. diplomats have been engaged in frank, and at times difficult, conversations about the human rights of LGBT persons with governments from around world. This morning, at the United Nations Human Rights Council, some 85 countries joined the United States in reaffirming the U.S. joint commitment to end acts of violence and human rights abuses on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The President is proud of the work we have done to build international consensus on this critical issue and is committed to continuing the U.S. determined efforts to advance the human rights of all people, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Statement at Human Rights Council in 2011

United States views on international law (based on the document “Digest of U.S. Practice in International Law”): On May 31, 2011, the United States participated in an interactive dialogue at the United Nations Human Rights Council with Special Rapporteur in the Field of Cultural Rights Farida Shaheed. The U.S. intervention, available at (internet link), included the following statement:


The United States thanks Independent Expert on Cultural Rights Shaheed for her report, which explores a need for a human rights-based approach to cultural heritage. … We do not agree with all of her statements about the relationship between human rights and cultural heritage. In particular, some statements of what governments should or must do, such as obtaining consent of concerned communities before acting to protect cultural heritage, seem sensible as general principles or policies, but may have exceptions and are not necessarily obligations of human rights law.


See Also

  • International Human Rights
  • Economic Rights
  • Social Rights
  • Cultural Rights
  • Cultural Issues
  • Human Rights Council


See Also

  • International Human Rights
  • Discrimination
  • Sexual Orientation

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