US president, Joe Biden has threatened to sanction countries that are yet to make laws to accommodate Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer and Intersex (LGBTQI) people.
The Democrat issued a presidential memorandum aimed at expanding the protection of the rights of LGBTQI people worldwide.
Biden’s memo reads, “When foreign governments move to restrict the rights of LGBTQI+ persons or fail to enforce legal protections in place, thereby contributing to a climate of intolerance, agencies engaged abroad shall consider appropriate responses, including using the full range of diplomatic and assistance tools and, as appropriate, financial sanctions, visa restrictions, and other actions.
“All human beings should be treated with respect and dignity and should be able to live without fear no matter who they are or whom they love.
“The United States belongs at the forefront of this struggle – speaking out and standing strong for our most dearly held values.”
The memo directs US agencies working in foreign countries to work harder to combat the criminalisation by foreign governments of LGBTQ status or conduct and directs the State Department to include anti-LGBTQ violence, discrimination, and laws in its annual human rights report.
It also calls for increased efforts to ensure that LGBTQ asylum seekers have equal access to protection, expanded training for US federal personnel, and potential increased use of priority referrals to expedite resettlement of vulnerable people.
It also instructs agencies to consider appropriate responses, including the full range of diplomatic tools, and potentially financial sanctions and visa restrictions, when foreign governments restrict the rights of LGBTQ people.
Biden first announced the push during a recent speech at the State Department, vowing to rebuild US credibility worldwide.
“To further repair our moral leadership, I’m also issuing a presidential memo to agencies to reinvigorate our leadership on the LGBTQI issues and do it internationally,” he said.
Which countries would this affect
According to the latest Human Rights Watch report, about 70 countries worldwide have laws that criminalise or no favour LGBTQI+ and many of this countries are in Africa.
Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Togo, Senegal, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Kenya, Guinea and many others.
President Biden released the memorandum on 4 February 2021 and the orders take effect immediately.