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After House Passes Bipartisan Bill to Punish Perpetrators of Global Violence Against LGBTQI Communities, Senate Co-Lead Shaheen Calls on Senate to Swiftly Follow Suit

Shaheen Leads Senate Companion Legislation with Murkowski to Impose Sanctions on Perpetrators of Global Violence against LGBTQI Communities

(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) applauded the U.S. House of Representative’s passage of the Global Respect Act – a bipartisan bill that would impose sanctions and block travel to the U.S. on foreign individuals responsible for human rights violations against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) individuals abroad. Senators Shaheen and Murkowski (R-AK) lead companion legislation in the Senate.

In the Senate, the bill is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Rob Portman (R-OH), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Ed Markey (D-MA), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Chris Coons (D-DE) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). The companion bill in the House is led by Congressman David Cicilline (RI-01) and has 74 cosponsors.

“Global violence and persecution targeting LGBTQI communities because of who they love and how they identify are reprehensible. It’s past time the U.S. sends a message to the global community that this violent discrimination will not be tolerated. The House took important action today to stop the systemic jailing and murdering of people based on their sexual orientation and gender identity,” said Shaheen. “I’m proud to lead this bipartisan push in the Senate to punish individuals and governments around the world who commit clear human rights violations and atrocities. Time is of the essence for LGBTQI people in danger – I encourage the Senate to swiftly consider this important legislation.”

More specifically, the Global Respect Act will:

  • Require the Executive Branch to biannually send Congress a list of foreign persons responsible for, or complicit in cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment of an individual; prolonged detention of an individual without charges or trials; causing the disappearance of an individual by abduction and clandestine detention of an individual; other flagrant denial of the right to life, liberty or the security of an individual based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, or sex characteristics;
  • Deny or revoke visas to individuals placed on the list, with waivers for national security or to allow attendance at the United Nations;
  • Require the annual State Department Report on Human Rights to include a section on LGBTQI international human rights, as well as an annual report to Congress on the status of the law’s effectiveness; and
  • Require the Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor to designate a senior officer responsible for tracking violence, criminalization, and restrictions on the enjoyment of fundamental freedoms in foreign countries based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or sex characteristics.

Senator Shaheen and Representative Cicilline first introduced the Global Respect Act in the 114th Congress. The legislation has been endorsed by the Human Rights Campaign, Freedom House and Council for Global Equality.