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US watching outcome of India’s LGBT court case with ‘great interest’

The US is watching with “great interest” the outcome of a court case about the LGBT community’s rights, a senior Obama administration official said.

india Updated: Apr 21, 2016 12:41 IST
US,LGBT rights,Human rights
The US said it is watching the LGBT court case in India with “great interest”.(Karun Sharma/HT File Photo)

A senior Obama administration official said the US is watching the outcome of a court case over decriminalisation of homosexuality in India with “great interest”.

“We of course are watching the outcome of the court case with great interest. We remain in contact with civil society groups and the government to share our views of our global policy on LGBT rights,” special US envoy for the human rights of LGBT Persons Randy Berry told reporters in Washington on Wednesday.

About a year ago, US secretary of state John Kerry had created this one of its kind position in the US government.

Taking over the position in April last year, Berry has travelled to 42 countries around the world including Jamaica, Turkey, Uganda, Indonesia, Bosnia, Kosovo, the Holy See and Israel.

“I have not had a chance to travel to India yet. But I would characterise from the reports we received from, not just from India but from the region, is that the global progression that we see is very uniform and I believe there is more open public dialogue.

“There is not a single country I visited this year that is immune from what I believe is a global movement,” he said.

“That is not because we are doing anything particularly to make it so. I think it is happening quite organically. Nor do I think there is any place where it’s impossible to have a conversation on these grounds. I think it can be delicate,” he said.

Berry said the American diplomatic mission in India engages with the government and with civil society groups in the US.

“I think we have to proceed with great care and make sure that we are conducting our diplomacy with our counterparts in the government and not necessarily through the press as an opening salvo.”

“I think that those conversations are entirely possible. I think they carry the capacity of being fundamentally productive, as long as we engage in a careful and reasoned way; that I really think that there is great value in a constructive conversation that talks about issues of basic humanity, freedom from discrimination and violence. I think that is a very hard proposition to argue with in almost any country,” Berry added.

In February, the Supreme Court held an open court and referred to a five-judge bench a curative petition challenging its verdict criminalising homosexuality in India.

First Published: Apr 21, 2016 12:41 IST