Secretary Kerry Convenes Partners of the Global Equality Fund

Members of the Global Equality Fund at the June 2013 meeting at the Department of State

Seated, L-R: Steve Wozencraft, CEO, John O’Donnell Associates; Adrian Coman, Program Director, Arcus Foundation; Frédéric Doré, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of France; Lajla Brandt Jakhelln, Charge d’affairs, Embassy of Norway; Ambassador Gudmundur Stefansson, Iceland; Ambassador Ritva Koukku-Ronda, Finland; Marcel de Vink, Charge d’affairs, Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands; Jens Hanefeld, Charge d’affairs, Embassy of Germany; Erin Eriksson, Executive Director, M∙A∙C AIDS Fund; J. Alexander Their, USAID Assistant Administrator Standing, L-R: John Evans, Founder, John D. Evans Foundation; Acting Assistant Secretary Uzra Zeya; Secretary of State John Kerry; Andrea Flynn, Vice President, M∙A∙C AIDS Fund

As part of the Department’s overall strategy to support the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons, Secretary Kerry met with the Partners of the Global Equality Fund in June to reaffirm the Department’s commitment to the Fund and discuss priority funding areas. Launched in December 2011, the Fund supports programs that advance and protect the human rights of LGBT persons globally. The Fund is providing over $6 million in assistance in more than 25 countries worldwide. The Partners of the Fund currently include the Governments of France, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Norway, and the Netherlands; the Norwegian LGBT Association (LLH), the John D. Evans Foundation, the Arcus Foundation, the M∙A∙C AIDS Fund, and USAID.

In meeting with the Partners, Secretary Kerry emphasized the importance of a two-pronged approach to protecting the human rights of LGBT persons that would respond to discriminatory legislation and look for opportunities to expand human rights and fundamental freedoms through new laws and other measures. The partners voiced support for this approach as well as overall support for ongoing U.S. leadership on LGBT human rights.

The Global Equality Fund, through generous support from its partners, supports initiatives to advance LGBT human rights, including programs that protect LGBT persons and their advocates from violence, strengthen judicial institutions on international human rights obligations, and support legal reform efforts. The Department looks forward to expanding this work through additional partnerships with like-minded governments, as well as with the private sector, including corporations and foundations.

“We have a moral obligation to stand in pride with LGBT individuals and advocates. We have a moral obligation to decry the marginalization and persecution of LGBT persons. And we have a moral obligation to promote societies that are more just, more fair, and tolerant.”

- Secretary of State John Kerry, June 19, 2013

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