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In a notice released on Wednesday, the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor noted that it has long supported global programs that “advance the rights and uphold the dignity” of the most vulnerable populations.

“In order to formalize this focus, effective March 2012, the Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) will require that, to the extent possible, program submissions advancing human rights and democracy address the human rights concerns of these groups.”

As it evaluates proposals, the Bureau said it will now assign weighted criteria to determine how a program’s objectives “support and empower” the groups mentioned above — women, racial and ethnic minorities, religious minorities, disabled people and LGBTs.

DRL has as much as $860,000 in U.S. taxpayer funds to spend on this particular endeavor.

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