Meet America’s first ever LGBT Human Rights Envoy


Randy W. Berry, the first US LGBT Human Rights Envoy

Randy Berry, the openly gay US Consul General in Amsterdam, has been named America’s first ever LGBT Human Rights Envoy.

In a statement, Secretary of State John Kerry described Berry as “a voice of clarity and conviction on human rights.”

“I’m confident that Randy’s leadership as our new Special Envoy will significantly advance efforts underway to move towards a world free from violence and discrimination against LGBT persons,” he said.

Kerry stated that “defending and promoting the human rights of LGBT persons is at the core of our commitment to advancing human rights globally – the heart and conscience of our diplomacy.”

Berry’s role will be to work to advance the human rights of LGBT people around the world, including decriminalising homosexuality, by working with governments, civil society, and the private sector.

More than 75 countries still criminalise consensual same-sex sex and it is punishable by death in 10 nations.

Berry, who speaks Spanish and Arabic, is a veteran of the US Foreign service. He previously served as the US Consul General in Auckland, as Deputy Chief of Mission of the US Embassy in Kathmandu and has had postings in Bangladesh, Egypt, Uganda (twice), and South Africa.

America’s biggest LGBT rights group, The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), applauded the appointment and praised President Obama and Kerry for creating this new senior-level position.

“At a moment when many LGBT people around the world are facing persecution and daily violence, this unprecedented appointment shows a historic commitment to the principle that LGBT rights are human rights,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Nations that place LGBT people in the cross hairs of danger must know that the United States will not turn a blind eye.”

Jessica Stern, Executive Director of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, said that the special diplomatic envoy “can contribute to a new era in which the conscience of governments everywhere can be focused on the destabilizing impact of prejudice and abuse that inflicts suffering on millions worldwide.”

“Non-discriminatory treatment not only serves to ensure that LGBTI people are treated equally before the law but also makes good business sense to any nation concerned with eliminating poverty through economic development,” she added.

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