The United States and Chile are putting the spotlight on "the barbaric treatment" of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people by the Islamic State extremist group.
U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power and Chile's U.N. Ambassador Cristian Barros Melet have invited members of the U.N. Security Council to an open meeting on Aug. 24 to hear from an Iraqi and a Syrian who have been targeted by the militant group for being gay, the head of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission and others.
"This will be a historic meeting," Power told reporters. "It'll be the first Security Council meeting on LGBT rights."
In a note to council members obtained Thursday by The Associated Press, the two ambassadors said the objective of the meeting is to hear first-hand details of attacks against LGBT people and the threat the Islamic State extremist group poses to international peace and security "through its targeting of groups most susceptible to attack."
Power said the meeting will be open to all 193 U.N. member states because there is significant interest in the Islamic State group's brutality and "in ensuring that LGBT people are not targeted on the basis of their sexual orientation."
President Barack Obama has strongly supported LGBT rights and the decision to highlight the militant group's attacks follows the June 27 U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing same sex marriages in all 50 states. Chile's President Michelle Bachelet declared in April 2013 that she supports same-sex marriage and would seek to legalize it though that hasn't happened yet.
According to a report in June by the U.N. human rights chief, at least 76 countries retain laws used to criminalize and harass people on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity or expression, including laws criminalizing consensual same-sex relationships among adults.