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Last-Minute Announcement of Kenya Trade Talks Dismisses Concerns of LGBTQ+ Rights Groups

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) just announced it will be holding a negotiating round for the U.S.-Kenya Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership (STIP) in Washington D.C. starting tomorrow, October 4th, and lasting until October 7th. 

Melinda St. Louis, Global Trade Watch director at Public Citizen, issued the following statement in response:

“It’s shocking that USTR is announcing this negotiating round with less than 24 hours’ notice. The negotiating rounds for the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, which civil society has panned for their opacity, at least have stakeholder listening sessions announced in advance. 

“Perhaps USTR was rightly concerned that given more than a few hours of notice, LGBTQ rights advocates would have had time to organize and speak out against their decision to move forward with negotiations.

“Since her visit to Nairobi in July, we have been waiting to hear from Ambassador Tai and her team how seriously they intend to take the clear demand by queer rights and public health groups in Kenya — as well as the Congressional  Equality Caucus and U.S. civil society — to pause the STIP negotiations until President Ruto commits to vetoing harmful LGBTQ legislation. 

“Ignoring the call for action from both U.S. and Kenya-based organizations and continuing negotiations sends a message to the world that criminalizing the LGBTQ+ community is not a deal-breaker when it comes to doing business with the U.S.” 

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