Statement by Acting Administrator John Barsa on Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance

Thank you, independent expert Madrigal. Let me start with a question: What strategies can countries implement to improve data collection on violence against LGBTI people without harming them?

We appreciate this opportunity to highlight the continuing need to combat violence and discrimination against LGBTI people worldwide. The protection and defense of the human rights of all people is and will remain for a long time at the heart of US foreign policy. The United States proudly promotes efforts to protect LGBTI populations from violence, criminalization, discrimination and stigma.

Around the world, LGBTI people are subjected to violence and prejudice-motivated crime. The United States opposes all forms of violence, including human rights violations and the abuse of people based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. All governments must uphold their commitment to the protection and respect of every person’s fundamental freedoms, and no government may under any circumstances support or encourage violence or hostility directed at LGBTI persons.

Continued barriers to accurate reporting of violence, harassment and discrimination – something exacerbated by laws punishing LGBTI status or behavior – are deeply worrying. The negative impact of such laws may be exacerbated by COVID-19 pandemic-related emergency restrictions on certain fundamental freedoms. During this time, LGBTI people have reported increasing human rights violations and restrictions on their freedom of association and their right to peaceful assembly.

Comprehensive and accurate data collection is essential for policy formulation and for holding officials and others accountable for conduct that violates the equal rights of LGBTI persons. We are concerned that such information is still lacking in many national contexts and in some UN reports. Especially in light of current global challenges that increase the vulnerability of LGBTI people to violence and discrimination, the United States will continue to mobilize resources to protect the human rights of LGBTI people. Better data will promote this effort.


US International Development Agency
Press Relations Office
Press release
30 October 2020


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