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LGBTI Rights

    April 25, 2016

    "The brutal killing today of an editor of an LGBTI publication and his friend, days after a university professor was hacked to death, underscores the appalling lack of protection being afforded to a range of peaceful activists in the country,” said Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director.

    “There have been four deplorable killings so far this month alone. It is shocking that no one has been held to account for these horrific attacks and that almost no protection has been given to threatened members of civil society. Bangladeshi authorities have a legal responsibility to protect and respect the right to life. They must urgently focus their energies on protecting those who express their opinions bravely and without violence, and bringing the killers to justice. The authorities must strongly condemn these horrific attacks, something they have failed to do so far.”                                      

    April 13, 2016

    We're still celebrating the release of scores of prisoners of conscience in Myanmar, including student leader Phyoe Phyoe Aung, on April 8!

    And now we get to take a moment to reflect on how amazing March was for human rights – activists were released, unfair laws were changed, and people who committed serious human rights abuses were brought to justice. We’ve picked out 15 successes, wins and pieces of good news, and they were all made possible thanks to your support.

    >> For the latest good news stories, click here!

     

    March 18, 2016

    Key legal reforms proposed by the Norwegian Ministry of Health today mark an important breakthrough that could change the lives of transgender people in Norway for generations to come, said Amnesty International.

    If adopted by Parliament, the Ministry’s proposal would give transgender people access to legal gender recognition through a quick, accessible and transparent procedure. Crucially, it would allow individuals to self-determine their gender and do away with Norway’s shameful legacy of compulsory requirements that are discriminatory and violate a range of human rights.

    “This is a milestone for all of us who have been fighting hard for the right to be who we are. Thanks to our combined efforts together with transgender activists and LGBT organizations in the country, we can look forward to the upcoming adoption of a law that will give transgender people access to legal gender recognition,” said Patricia M. Kaatee, Policy Adviser at Amnesty International Norway.

    December 11, 2015

    By Lorna Hayes and Khairunissa Dhala from Amnesty’s refugee and migrants’ rights team at Amnesty's International Secretariat

    Said and his partner Jamal – who is living with HIV – fled Syria after being tortured for their political activism. They are excited about starting a new life in the capital, Berlin, after being resettled there.

    “We were so happy that we cried,” says Jamal* about the moment he and his partner Said* found out that Germany had opened its doors to them.

    “It was a moment of victory,” Jamal continues. “We were shocked that we were accepted for resettlement so quickly, [after just] six months.”

    They were lucky – many other refugees who qualify for resettlement wait much longer for that all-important phone call to say they can settle down for good somewhere peaceful and safe.

    A new home in Berlin

    October 28, 2015
    © REUTERS/Thomas Peter

    By Lesly Lila, London, UK

    As the 2015 Pride season ends, we look at why Pride events are still so important for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people and activists across the world.

    1. People are still attacked because of their real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity

    October 14, 2015

    The killing of three trans women in Argentina in the past month must trigger authorities into taking more robust action to protect one of the mostmarginalized communities in the country, said Amnesty International.

    Lastnight, Amancay Diana Sacayán, a renowed activist for the rights of lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender people (LGBTI) was found dead in her flat in Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires. Her body had signs of violence. A month ago, Marcela Chocobar and Coty Olmos, two trans women and leaders of LGBTIorganizations, were also violently killed in the provinces of Santa Fe and Santa Cruz.

    “Adark cloud has set over Argentina’s trans community. Unless this latest wave of murders is effectively investigated and those responsible taken to justice, a message will be sent that attacking trans women is actually ok,” said Mariela Belski, Executive Director at Amnesty International Argentina.

    October 01, 2015

    The case of a 22-year-old student sentenced to one year in prison for engaging in “homosexual relations” has finally sparked public debate on same-sex relations in Tunisia. Yesterday, the Minister of Justice Mohamed Salah Ben Aissa made a ground-breaking public call for the decriminalization of same-sex relations.

    A court in Sousse convicted the man, known under the pseudonym Marwan, on 22 September after forcing him to undergo an anal examination to establish “proof” of anal sex. Amnesty International considers people who are arrested and detained solely on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity to be prisoners of conscience.

    On 6 September, police had summoned Marwan in relation to the murder of a man in Sousse. When he denied any involvement in the crime, but admitted to having sex with the victim reportedly after the police threatened to bring a murder charge against him, he was charged with “sodomy” under Article 230 of the Penal Code which carries a maximum three-year prison sentence. The article also criminalizes “lesbianism” although it is rarely used to detain lesbian women.

    September 17, 2015

    Poland’s legal system falls dangerously short when it comes to protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people and other minority groups from hate crimes, Amnesty International said in a new report today less than two months ahead of general elections.

    Targeted by hatred, forgotten by law shows how the state has excluded whole communities from hate crime legislation, including homeless people, people with disabilities and the LGBTI community.

    “Poland has a two-tiered legal system that protects some minority groups but leaves others to fend for themselves. If you are a gay man or woman, a person with a disability or a homeless person in Poland and attacked because of who you are, the police will just treat it as an ordinary crime, not as a hate crime – this dangerous protection gap must be closed immediately,” said Marco Perolini, Amnesty International’s expert on discrimination in Europe and Central Asia.

    August 21, 2015

     

    Chelsea Manning is serving a 35-year prison sentence for leaking classified US government documents to the website WikiLeaks. Two years after she was first sentenced, Chelsea tells us why speaking out against injustice can be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

     

    Q. Why did you decide to leak documents about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? 

    These documents were important because they relate to two connected counter-insurgency conflicts in real-time from the ground. Humanity has never had this complete and detailed a record of what modern warfare actually looks like. Once you realize that the co-ordinates represent a real place where people live; that the dates happened in our recent history; that the numbers are actually human lives – with all the love, hope, dreams, hatred, fear, and nightmares that come with them – then it’s difficult to ever forget how important these documents are.

    June 26, 2015

    Amnesty International USA release

    The Supreme Court of the United States today delivered a historic ruling affirming the right of same-sex couples across the country to legally marry.

    “This is a joyous day not just for loving and committed same-sex couples, but for everyone who believes in human rights and equality for all,” said Steven W. Hawkins, executive director of Amnesty International USA.

    “The ability to marry the partner of your choice and raise a family is a human right enshrined in international law. While much work remains to be done to ensure that all forms of discrimination against LGBT people are eliminated once and for all, this long-awaited and significant decision affirms that same-sex couples and their families deserve the same respect and recognition as anyone else.”

     

    For more information, please contact Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations 416-363-9933 ext 332 bberton-hunter@amnesty.ca

    June 26, 2015

    By George Harvey, Amnesty International Canada, LGBTI Coordinator

    A landmark ruling from the Supreme Court in the United States calling for marriage equality in all 50 states! A successful referendum on marriage equality in Ireland! Discriminatory laws challenged and repealed in a number of countries, and peaceful Pride marches in cities where they've been met with violence and counter marches in the past. We have much to celebrate during Pride this summer.

    Pride season is in full swing. As I type this blog I am gearing up to coordinate Amnesty's contingent in Toronto Pride this Sunday. Amnesty marches in Pride parades throughout Canada and around the world. We promote our actions at festivals and info-fairs, and we honour the lives lost to homophobia and transphobia at human rights vigils. Some of us are Amnesty activists who are members of the LGBTI community; many are allies marching in solidarity with the LGBTI community. All of us stand firmly against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, and all of us stand firmly for the right to loudly, proudly, and publicly be who we are.

    June 17, 2015

    The Latvian government should break its silence and give a firm commitment to do all within its power to ensure the safety and protection of those participating in this year’s EuroPride in Riga, said Amnesty International today.

    EuroPride, which celebrates the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people in a different European city every year, will be held in the Latvian capital on Saturday 20 June, at the end of a week-long festival that began on 15 June.

    While EuroPride organizers say law enforcement authorities have been very cooperative, the Latvian government has failed to welcome the event. When asked about it last December, Latvian President Andris Berzins stated that “homosexuality should not be advertised and imposed”.

    June 06, 2015

    Despite efforts by police today, Ukrainian authorities should have done more in advance to prevent violent attacks against gay Pride marchers several of whom were injured today, Amnesty International said.

    Lack of coordination with the event organisers and the failure to put an evacuation plan in place meant that, despite the presence of at least 1,500 police and national guard soldiers, about 10 protesters were injured when they were attacked by homophobic protesters. At least five police were also injured, one seriously.

    “The homophobic violence which soiled the streets of Kyiv today was ugly and action should have been taken in advance to try and prevent it. Instead of responding to violent threats by taking steps to ensure marchers would be safe, the police only took the decision to provide protection to the march yesterday. Had more time been spent planning and coordinating, some of these injuries might have been avoided,” said Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty International’s deputy director for Europe and Central Asia.

    May 21, 2015

    Amnesty International Ireland Release

    In less than 24 hours, Ireland will go to the polls in a referendum that is truly historic, the first time any nation has asked its people to vote ‘Yes’ and end discrimination against LGBTI people in its civil marriage laws. If passed, Ireland will become the first country anywhere in the world to guarantee its people the equal constitutional right to marry the person they love, regardless of their sexual orientation, following a popular vote.

    Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland said:

    “Love does not discriminate, and neither should our laws. If a state decides to recognise, protect and value loving, intimate, committed relationships in its laws, it should not deny this recognition to some just because of their sexual orientation. We call on the people of Ireland to bring in a new era of equality in civil marriage. It is their decision now.

    May 14, 2015

    Around the world, people face violent attacks and threats simply because of who they are or who they have sex with. But some brave activists are still standing up for their rights. To mark the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT) on 17 May, we celebrate the courageous activism of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people worldwide.

    1. Pushing to end hate crimes in Greece

    In Greece, LGBTI rights organizations tell us violent attacks on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity have more than doubled over the last year. In August 2014, Kostas and Zabi, a Greek-Pakistani gay couple, were brutally beaten up in a homophobic and racist attack in central Athens.

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