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LGBTI Rights

    February 16, 2018


    There’s more to sex than just male and female.

    Learn more about intersex rights by screening the documentary film Intersexion and hosting a question and answer session afterwards with local intersex activists. According to the filmmakers, in this documentary, “intersex individuals reveal the secrets of their unconventional lives – and how they have navigated their way through this strictly male/female world, when they fit somewhere in between.”

    February 15, 2018

    The journalist, asylum seeker and Amnesty International activist Ali Feruz has been released on February 2 following a court decision in Moscow that determined that he was able to leave Russia for a third country.  Ali is currently on his way to Germany.

    Khudoberdi Nurmatov, better known under his journalist alias “Ali Feruz” has been detained in Moscow since August 2017, accused of “violation of the rules of entry or stay in the Russian Federation by a foreign citizen”.

    Ali has had a difficult path fleeing from discrimination. Ali fled from Uzbekistan in 2009 after he was arrested and tortured by the security forces in Uzbekistan and eventually came to Russia. Since then He has repeatedly tried to claim asylum in Russia and had appealed the Russian immigration authorities’ refusal to grant him refugee status.

    January 29, 2018

    Reacting to the Indonesian police’s arrest of 12 transgender people in North Aceh on 27 January, while forcefully cutting their hair to “make them masculine” and shutting down beauty salons where they work, Amnesty International Indonesia’s Executive Director Usman Hamid said:

    “The latest raids on beauty salons are just the latest example of the authorities arbitrarily targeting transgender people simply for who they are. Despite them having committed no crime, Aceh has become an increasingly hostile place for LGBTI people.

    “Cutting the hair of those arrested to ‘make them masculine’ and forcing them to dress like men are forms of public shaming and amount to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, in contravention of Indonesia’s international obligations. This is part of a long-standing pattern of harassing and discriminating against LGBTI people in the region that must stop immediately.”

    The police released all the transgender people on 28 January without any charges. The local police chief told media that they detained the transgender people for an “education” program in order to make them “normal” men.

    December 07, 2017

    In reaction to the Australian Parliament passing into law the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017, Amnesty International Australia’s NSW LGBTQI Network Convenor Lizzi Price said:

    “Marriage Equality is a human right and human rights should never be subject to popular vote. While we celebrate this amazing moment, we will continue to stand in solidarity with LGBTQI Australians and their families who have faced such a confronting and challenging experience throughout the postal survey. The Government should commit to never using such a process again.

    "This is a historic and long-overdue moment for Australia. This outcome is due to the hard work, determination, and courage of so many people. LGBTQI Australians, community groups, activists and allies stood up, spoke out and built an unstoppable movement for equality. For that alone, there is such a lot to celebrate here."


    For further information, please contact  Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations 416-363-9933 ext 332


    November 27, 2017

    The lives and safety of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex people (LGBTI) from violence-ridden El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras are at an increased risk as authorities in their countries fail to protect them, leaving them with no choice but to flee their countries and face further dangers in Mexico, Amnesty International said in a new report today.  

    No Safe Place uncovers the treacherous journey faced by gay men and trans women refugees fleeing rocketing levels of discrimination and gender-based violence in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras from criminal gangs and members of security forces. It also accuses Mexican authorities of failing to protect them from violations and abuses while travelling through the country, and highlights unbearable experiences during prolonged and systematic immigration detention in the USA.

    “People are facing vicious discrimination in Central America due to their gender identities, and have absolutely nowhere to run for safety,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    October 20, 2017

    After the Tanzanian authorities today detained without charge a group of 12 health and human rights activists and publicly accused them of “promoting homosexuality”, Amnesty International’s Director of Global Issues and Research Audrey Gaughran said:

    “This peaceful group of activists and lawyers will now spend the weekend behind bars despite having done nothing wrong – as illustrated by the fact the authorities have failed to even find a crime to charge them with. All of these people unlawfully detained must be immediately and unconditionally released.

    “These baseless detentions are the latest example of the Tanzanian authorities’ ongoing, unlawful witch hunt against the country’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community,” said Audrey Gaughran.


    For more informatno, please contact Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations 416-363-9933 ext 332

    October 18, 2017

    The Russian authorities must abolish their absurd “homosexual propaganda law” and end persecution of human rights activists, said Amnesty International after a female activist was heavily fined for posting links to LGBTI-related stories on social media.

    Evdokia Romanova was today found guilty of the administrative offence of “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships among minors using the Internet” and fined 50,000 roubles (USD $870) by a court in Samara. The accusations against her related to links she shared on Facebook in 2015 and 2016, including a Guardian story on Ireland’s same sex marriage referendum and a Buzzfeed article about an LGBTI exhibition in St Petersburg.

    “The absurd accusations against Evdokia Romanova are a sad illustration of the desperate circumstances currently faced by activists working on LGBTI issues in Russia. Even the simple freedom to share an online story with friends is now limited by legislation that is blatantly discriminatory and homophobic,” said Denis Krivosheev, Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International.

    October 11, 2017
    Alex Neve (left), Alex Xavier (centre), and Jackie Hansen (right) in Parliament when Bill C-16 on gender identity was tabled in June 2016.

    In Conversation with Amnesty International’s LGBTI Rights Coordinator Alexander Xavier

    Ottawa-based Alexander Xavier is one of Amnesty International Canada’s two LGBTI Coordinators. He has served on Amnesty’s board of directors, and has been an Amnesty supporter since he was in high school. In October 2017, we had a chat with Alexander about his long history with Amnesty and what motivates him to continue so fervantly advocating for LGBTI rights in Canada and around the world.

    Alex, how did you first get involved with Amnesty?

    In high school I became acquainted with Amnesty as I learned about the death penalty. I joined an Amnesty student group, later attended Amnesty’s Human Rights College, and got involved with Amnesty’s student and youth program.

    October 10, 2017

    The passing of a new law reforming the legal recognition of gender identity, is an historical step forward for transgender people in Greece, said Amnesty International.

    The new law adopted today expressly states that transgender people can change their papers without the requirement of medical interventions or tests.

    “Today’s reform is a hard-won victory for transgender rights activists in Greece who have fought for equality for transgender people for years. It sends out a clear message that no one should be forced to go through medical procedures in order to be officially recognized for who they are,” said Fotis Filippou, Amnesty International’s Deputy Europe Director.

    “Whilst this reform is a historic step in the right direction, the struggle is not fully won. The Greek government must make further changes in law to ensure that transgender people in Greece can be legally recognised as who they are without having to give up other rights.”


    September 30, 2017

    Six men arrested for “promoting sexual deviancy” and “debauchery” on social media will be subjected to invasive forensic anal examinations said Amnesty International, ahead of their trial tomorrow on Sunday 1 October. The arrests, on the evening of 27 September, came shortly after Egypt’s chief prosecutor announced an investigation in response to a public backlash against a recent concert in Cairo by the Lebanese band Mashrou’ Laila where members of the crowd raised a rainbow flag.

    The Forensic Medical Authority is due to subject the six men to anal examinations to determine whether they have engaged in same sex sexual relations. Amnesty International believes that such examinations violate the prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment under international law.

    “The fact that Egypt’s Public Prosecutor is prioritizing hunting down people based on their perceived sexual orientation is utterly deplorable. These men should be released immediately and unconditionally – not put on trial,” said Najia Bounaim, North Africa Campaigns Director at Amnesty International.

    September 06, 2017

    Amnesty International welcomes the initiative of the Canadian government, and non-governmental partners Rainbow Railroad and Russian LGBT Network, which has brought dozens of gay men from the semi-autonomous Russian republic of Chechnya to Canada as government-assisted refugees. This unique government and civil society partnership comes in response to a coordinated campaign against men in Chechnya who are believed to be gay.

    In early April, the Russian independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported that over a hundred of men believed to be gay had been recently abducted, sent to undisclosed detention centres, tortured and otherwise ill-treated, and forced to disclose other LGBTI individuals known to them. Chechen officials have also supported ``honour killings`` of gay men by their families. Amnesty International documented the practice of extrajudicial executions of gay men in Chechnya and elsewhere in the region earlier this year.

    August 04, 2017
    Good news! All 28 men arrested on suspicion of being gay are now free

    Twenty-eight men were arrested during a social event on May 19, 2017 in Kerinaganj, a town south of Dhaka, Bangladesh. Why? Though the individuals were detained on suspicion of violating the Narcotics Control Act 1990, Amnesty International believes that the arrests were due to the fact that the gathering was known to be frequented by gay men.

    Twenty-three of the men were granted bail in June. The remaining five men were released on bail on July 21. Amnesty does not know if any conditions were attached to the bail. 

    The men do not appear to be facing imminent danger any longer. Amnesty International will continue monitoring the situation, and respond accordingly if there are any developments.


    August 02, 2017

    The Russian authorities must immediately overturn their decision to deport asylum seeker Khudoberdi Nurmatov, better known under his journalist alias Ali Feruz, to Uzbekistan, Amnesty International said today.

    “Ali Feruz is openly gay, a human rights activist and a correspondent for the independent Novaya Gazeta newspaper. This is a near-lethal combination for someone who is about to be handed over to Uzbekistan, where “sodomy” is a crime and torture is endemic,” said Denis Krivosheev, Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International.

    Ali Feruz fled from Uzbekistan in 2009 after he was arrested and tortured by the security forces in Uzbekistan and eventually came to Russia in 2011. He has repeatedly tried to claim asylum in Russia and had recently appealed the Russian immigration authorities’ refusal to grant him refugee status. In a late night court hearing yesterday, the judge found him in violation of “the rules of entry or stay in the Russian Federation by a foreign citizen” and ordered his deportation.

    July 26, 2017
      Following tweets from President Donald Trump announcing he would no longer allow transgender individuals to serve in the U.S. military, Tarah Demant, Amnesty International USA’s director of Gender, Sexuality, and Identity program issued the following statement:

    “Today’s announcement violates the human rights of all transgender Americans. It lays bare the president’s prejudice and underlines the fact that creating policy based on bigotry is becoming a dangerous and cruel pattern for President Trump. The administration continues to target minority communities without pause and without facts. From stripping protections from transgender students to today’s announcement, the Trump administration has made clear it has an agenda of discrimination.”  
    June 30, 2017
      Following news that Germany has voted in favour of marriage equality, granting all couples - regardless of their gender or sexual orientation - full rights, including adoption, John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe Director said:   “The passing of this law is a victory for equality and a testament to the commitment of activists in Germany who have fought long and hard to achieve equality in who has access to marriage.”   “This long overdue decision to remove a deeply discriminatory barrier and means that marriage – and the rights that come with it - will finally be open to all couples in Germany.”  


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