LGBT rights advocates from around the world are scheduled to attend a Human Rights Conference summit next week in Washington, D.C.
Activists from Argentina, Chile, China, the Czech Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, Hungary, Israel, Jamaica, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Lithuania, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Poland, Russia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Turkey, Uganda, Uruguay and Vietnam are expected to take part in the inaugural Global Innovative Advocacy Summit that will take place at HRC’s Northwest Washington offices from March 29 – April 1.
Special U.S. Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons Randy Berry is scheduled to speak to the advocates during a reception at the HRC building in Northwest Washington. HRC Global Director Ty Cobb told the Washington Blade on Tuesday during a telephone interview that conference participants will discuss ways to further engage and mobilise the LGBT community and its allies in their respective countries.
He added that he will highlight HRC’s global advocacy efforts and learn “from organisations that are looking at advancing” their goals. “It’s really sharing how various movements have made progress in those different categories,” Cobb said. The conference will take place against the backdrop of the White House’s continued efforts to promote LGBT rights abroad as part of its foreign policy.
The Obama administration has faced criticisms over its response to LGBT rights abuses in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other countries that are seen as U.S. allies. HRC’s decision to serve Coke and Coca-Cola products during a 2014 Winter Olympics opening ceremony watch party sparked controversy among some advocates who had targeted the soft drink company for not criticising Russia’s LGBT rights record ahead of the Sochi games.
The HRC summit will take place two months after protesters forced the cancellation of a reception at the National LGBTQ Task Force’s annual conference in Chicago that was to have featured two advocates from Israel.
Sarah Kala-Meir and Tom Canning of Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance were scheduled to speak at the reception for A Wider Bridge, an organisation seeking to bolster “LGBTQ connections with Israel.” Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance are taking part in the HRC summit.
“It’s not about the broader ideology on global human rights advocacy,” Cobb added. “It’s bringing together the people doing that work in their countries.
“We have an incredible group of professional advocates who are moving equality forward in their countries”