Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ambassador Guest to Lead U.S. Delegation to International Human Rights Conference

I got this yesterday from the Council for Global Equality:

Ambassador Guest to Lead U.S. Delegation to International Human Rights Conference

The State Department has asked Michael Guest, a Senior Advisor to the Council for Global Equality, to lead the U.S. delegation to an upcoming human rights review conference to be held in Poland. The conference, to be held September 30-October 8 in Warsaw, will review the degree to which the 56 member states of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which embraces all of North America and Europe, are implementing their international human rights commitments. The Warsaw meeting is the first step in preparations for a Summit-level OSCE meeting in Kazakhstan later this year.

During his previous 26-year State Department career, Ambassador Guest worked directly on OSCE policy, as well as on broader human rights policy concerns. He retired in December 2007, in protest of State Department regulations that discriminated against gay and lesbian Foreign Service personnel. His career displays a record of commitment to the ideals that underlay the creation of the OSCE. We salute the State Department for tapping him to lead efforts in Warsaw to reaffirm the transatlantic community's commitment to human rights and fundamental freedoms.

This is the first time that the United States has named an openly gay individual to serve on its official delegation to an OSCE conference. Of note, the United States delegation to a related OSCE human rights conference last year raised, for the first time, concerns over violence directed against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender minorities in many states of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. This issue is expected to be a feature of the Warsaw discussions, along with other U.S. concerns about challenges to journalist protections, freedom of assembly, and freedom of association.

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