Skip to content

Shaheen, Murkowski Lead Bipartisan Legislation to Impose Sanctions on Perpetrators of Global Violence against LGBTI Communities

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) led a bipartisan group of lawmakers in reintroducing the Global Respect Act. This legislation would impose sanctions on foreign individuals responsible for human rights violations against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersex (LGBTQI) individuals abroad. Companion legislation is led in the House of Representatives by Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) and Congresswoman Sara Jacobs (CA-51).

“It’s unconscionable that LGBTQI communities around the world face persecution, jail and murder because of who they love and how they identify. These communities should be free to express who they are, love who they love and enjoy all the same basic human rights as anyone else. The U.S. has a moral imperative to make clear to the international community that LGBTI rights are human rights, and that we will work to protect these communities regardless of where they are in the world,” said Senator Shaheen. “That’s why I’m leading this bipartisan effort to empower the administration with enhanced authority to bring human rights violators to justice while expanding protections for LGBTQI individuals around the world.”

“In certain countries around the world, members of the LGBTQI community are subject to discrimination and harm every day,” said Senator Murkowski. “We should not tolerate violence against any group of people. By creating and strengthening consequences for those who carry out human rights violations, my hope is that we prevent it from happening in the first place.”

Specifically, the Global Respect Act would: 

  • Require the Executive Branch to biannually send Congress a list of foreign persons responsible for, or complicit in cruel, inhumane 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 denials of the right to life, liberty or the security of an individual;
  • Authorize the Administration to deny or revoke visas to individuals placed on the list;
  • Require the annual State Department Report on Human Rights to include a section on LGBTI 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 or gender identity.  

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. Senator Shaheen also co-leads the GLOBE Act, which is legislation outlining a comprehensive vision for the United States to uphold and defend international LGBTQI rights.

Full text of the bill is available here.