Published Thursday, 06 December 2012
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. (© Getty)
Ms Clinton was one of 50 dignitaries who took part in an Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) conference on Thursday.
During a speech on human rights at Dublin City University, she highlighted four main areas of importance - religion, internet freedom, civil society and respecting women.
Ms Clinton said gay people should be respected in a civil society.
She said: "We are seeing a particular movement against the LGBT community around the world, punishing people harassing them, beating them, imprisoning them for who they are, so the US has targeted out efforts to preserve the space that civil society and vulnerable people need to make the case for change in their own communities."
Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said a range of international issues were discussed including links between the US and Ireland which have developed during her tenure.
Following their meeting, Mr Gilmore announced the government will provide €250,000 in emergency funding to help organisations provide assistance for members of the Irish community who have been worst affected by Sandy.
Ms Clinton will travel to Belfast on Friday to discuss investment opportunities.