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Pride at Work Challenges Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBT Persons to Tackle Trade

For Immediate Release
February 24, 2015
Contact: Jerame Davis
Pride at Work Challenges Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBT Persons to Tackle Trade
WASHINGTON, DC – Yesterday, the State Department announced the appointment of Randy Berry as the first Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBT Persons. In this role, Berry will be responsible for advancing US efforts to protect and defend the human rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people around the world. Pride at Work Executive Director Jerame Davis reacts:
“Congratulations to Randy Berry on his appointment to be the first-ever Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBT Persons and kudos to the Obama Administration for creating this important position. The timing of this appointment could not be more critical. The first test of this position’s power and reach is happening right now as the President is wrapping up negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Congress is close to introducing Fast Track legislation to push it through to approval.
“As we’ve pointed out repeatedly, the inclusion of Brunei and Malaysia in the TPP is an egregious violation of the promises this Administration has made to protect and defend the basic human right of LGBT people around the world. Our nation should not be negotiating, let alone signing, privileged trade deals with countries that jail or stone to death their LGBT citizens. What better way for this new Special Envoy to carry out the mission of his position than by preventing these two countries from being included in the agreement?
“The Obama Administration has ignored our direct calls for Brunei and Malaysia to be removed from the TPP, but perhaps it will listen to the Special Envoy it has appointed to oversee and address these matters. Therefore, we call on Special Envoy Randy Berry to immediately address the inclusion of Brunei and Malaysia in the TPP and demand their removal in order to assure LGBT people around the world that the United States can and will use everything at its disposal to protect LGBT people around the world.
“As Congress considers the passage of Fast Track legislation, it’s more important than ever for LGBT advocates to speak out and demand that Brunei and Malaysia be excluded from this and any future trade agreements until they end the abuse of their LGBT citizens. The Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBT Persons should be vocal and persistent on this point.”
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Pride At Work is the official constituency group of LGBT union members and allies fighting for workplace equality for LGBT workers.We organize mutual support between the organized labor movement in the spirit of the union movement’s historic motto, “An Injury to One is An Injury to All.” Workers interested in joining Pride at Work or in launching new chapter organizing efforts, can visit www.prideatwork.org or email us at info@prideatwork.org.


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