Washington: The Obama administration is announcing a wide-ranging effort to use US foreign aid to promote rights for gays and lesbians abroad, including combating attempts by foreign governments to criminalise homosexuality.
   
In a memorandum issued today, President Barack Obama directed US agencies working abroad, including the State Department and the US Agency for International Development, to use foreign aid to assist gays and lesbians who are facing human rights violations.
   
And he ordered US agencies to improve protections for gay and lesbian refugees and asylum seekers.    

"Our deep commitment to advancing the human rights of all people is strengthened when we as the United States bring our tools to bear to vigorously advance this goal," Obama said in the memorandum.
   
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is also expected to speak about the announcements in Geneva later on Tuesday.

(Agencies)