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LGBTI Rights

    November 13, 2014

    On Thursday, November 20, call Senators and speak out in support of the rights of Canada’s transgender communities.

    November 20th is the Transgender Day of Remembrance. It’s a day to honour transgender people who have lost their lives because of hatred and fear, and to re-commit ourselves to supporting the human rights of Canada’s transgender communities.

    Transgender people in Canada and around the world face extreme levels of violence and discrimination because they are transgender. Six provinces and one territory in Canada have legally established “gender identity” as a prohibited ground of discrimination in an effort to curb this violence and discrimination. Similar legislation is not yet in place at the federal level.

    October 16, 2014

    By Jackie Hansen, Major Campaigns and Women’s Rights Campaigner

    There appears to be a rise in homophobia around the world. From Russia and Kyrgyzstan to Nigeria, Uganda, and beyond, homosexuality is becoming further criminalized. This is particularly hard to understand here in Canada where we are steadily marching in the opposite direction—we have had marriage equality for a decade, and several provinces and territories have legislation in place to protect the transgender community from violence and discrimination.

    When we hear about new legislation criminalizing or further criminalizing same sex sexual conduct we are enraged. And we want to act. And when activists in Uganda ask us not to act—or at least not act in the ways we would normally work here at home—we are confused. We want to be supportive. We want to help. We want to send a message to the Ugandan government that LGBTI rights are human rights. And sometimes the hardest thing we can do is nothing.

    October 16, 2014

    Released  08.00 BST - 16 October 2014

    Repressive and discriminatory legislation enacted over the last 18 months in Uganda has led to increasing state repression, violence and homophobic and gender-based discrimination, according to a new report published by Amnesty International today.

    “Rule by Law” – Discriminatory Legislation and Legitimized Abuses in Uganda, launching today in Uganda’s capital city Kampala, details how three pieces of legislation have violated fundamental human rights, fuelled discriminatory abuses and left individuals unable to seek justice.

    “Repression in Uganda is increasingly state sanctioned through the use of blatantly discriminatory legislation that erodes rights guaranteed in the country’s Constitution,” said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa.  

    “The government must act now to revise these toxic laws, which threaten the core of human rights in Uganda.”

    October 09, 2014

    Ottawa, October 9, 2014 – Amnesty International is calling on Canada’s Senate to pass Bill C-279, a piece of legislation which will go a long way to protecting the fundamental human rights of transgender persons in Canada.

    In a brief submitted today to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee, Amnesty International called for the bill to be passed immediately and as drafted.

    “Around the world, and certainly in Canada, transgender individuals face alarmingly high levels of violence, harassment and prejudice,” said Alex Neve, Secretary-General of Amnesty International Canada. “It is a glaring human rights problem that governments everywhere have, for far too long, failed to address. Bill C-279 would provide much-needed and long-needed human rights protection to transgender individuals in Canada who face discrimination and hate crimes, in keeping with the country’s international human rights obligations.  It is imperative that the Senate do the right thing and ensure its speedy passage into law.”

    October 09, 2014

    The President of Chad, Idriss Deby, has been directly warned that if a homophobic bill currently before parliament is passed, he will be showing a blatant disregard for the country’s human rights obligations. In an open letter published today, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, Salil Shetty, calls on the President to scrap the bill which threatens to impose jail sentences of up to 20 years and heavy fines for people “found guilty” of same sex activity.

    “If this homophobic bill becomes law, President Deby will be blatantly disregarding the country’s international and regional human rights obligations. He will deny people their right to privacy, will institutionalize discrimination and enable the stigmatization, harassment and policing of people who are, or are perceived to be gay - regardless of their sexual behaviour.” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

    October 02, 2014

    The Abominable Crime, a documentary highlighting discrimination and violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people in Jamaica, is the first recipient of the Amnesty International Human Rights Prize at trinidad+tobago film festival (ttff). Micah Fink’s documentary won unanimous praise from jurors and was awarded the prize at a ceremony in Port of Spain on 28 September.

    “The Abominable Crime distinguishes itself by making the criminalization of same sex relationships, the consequences for all LGBTI people and their strategies for survival central to its sensitive portrayal of its two main characters”, said Trinidadian filmmaker Christopher Laird for the jury, announcing the winner.

    September 26, 2014

    A new law in Indonesia’s Aceh province that imposes up to 100 lashes of the cane for “crimes” such as same-sex sexual activity and sex outside marriage is an enormous stepbackwards for human rights, Amnesty International said.

    The Aceh parliament today passed the Aceh Islamic Criminal Code, a bylaw which criminalizes a range of acts – including same-sex sexual activity, sex outside marriage and “being alone with someone of the opposite sex who is not a marriage partner or relative” (khalwat). Those found guilty could face caning, imprisonment or fines imposed by Islamic courts.

    “This bylaw should never have been passed and is an enormous step backwards for human rights in Aceh – the Aceh parliament should immediately repeal or revise the provisions of the bylaw which violate human rights ,” said Richard Bennett, Amnesty International’s Asia Pacific Director.

    September 10, 2014

    (Dakar, September 10, 2014) - President Yahya Jammeh of Gambia should not sign a new Criminal Code amendment that would increase the punishment for “aggravated homosexuality” to life in prison, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said today. The measure would further add to the climate of fear for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people in Gambia.

    Several provisions of the law violate international human rights law and amount to persecution on the basis of real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Sections of the law are similar to the harsh homophobic legislation that was annulled in August 2014 in Uganda.

    “President Jammeh should not approve this profoundly damaging act that violates international human rights law,” said Stephen Cockburn, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for West and Central Africa. “Gambia’s National Assembly and the President should not endorse state-sponsored homophobia.”

    August 01, 2014

    The striking-down of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act is a step towards stopping state-sponsored discrimination in its tracks, said Amnesty International.

    “Even though Uganda’s abominable Anti-Homosexuality Act was scrapped on the basis of a technicality, it is a significant victory for Ugandan activists who have campaigned against this law. Since it was first being floated in 2009, these activists have often put their safety on the line to ensure that Ugandan law upholds human rights principles,” said Sarah Jackson, Africa Deputy Regional Director at Amnesty International.

    “We now hope that this step forward translates into real improvements in the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people in Uganda, who have been trapped in a vicious circle of discrimination, threats, abuse and injustice for too long.”

    Since Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act came into force in March 2014, Amnesty International documented a sharp increase in arbitrary arrests, police abuse and extortion against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people.

    Many lost their jobs, were left homeless or were effectively forced to flee the country.

    July 16, 2014

    A woman from Finland who came out as transgender during her marriage should be allowed to be legally recognized as a female without changing her marital status, Amnesty International said today after the European Court of Human Rights ruled against her.

    Because of Finland’s prohibition on same-sex marriage, Heli, 49, is not able to obtain legal recognition of her gender unless she converts her 18-year marriage into a civil partnership.

    She has already had to undergo a psychiatric assessment and sterilization as part of the Finland’s legal requirements for gender recognition.

    “With this deeply disappointing and unjust ruling, the European Court of Human Rights is condoning Finland’s repressive laws affecting transgender people and reinforcing harmful gender stereotypes,” said Jezerca Tigani, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Europe and Central Asia Programme.

    July 13, 2014

    Uganda is a dangerous place for gay people, and yet these individuals are expressing pride in who they are, and supporting the rights of other people who are gay.


    Do you or your friends have one parent? Both a mother and a father? Two mothers or maybe two fathers?

    In Canada, some families have two mothers or two fathers. But in some countries, including Uganda, it is against the law for two men, or for two women, to love each other.

    Gay* people love someone of the same gender. In many countries, gay people are bullied and harassed, put in prison, and sometimes even killed.

    In February 2014, the government of Uganda passed a bill to make being gay unlawful. Gay people can now be put in jail for the rest of their lives.  

    Gay people are not the only ones affected by the new law. Those who provide them healthcare, or who defend the human rights of gay people, can also be put in prison.

    May 30, 2014

    The protracted detention of two Zambian men accused of having sex is an affront to all who believe in fundamental human rights, equality and non-discrimination and they should be released immediately, said Amnesty International today.

    The Magistrate court in Kapiri Mposhi was due to deliver its verdict today on the case of James Mwape and Philip Mubiana, who have been held for over a year after being charged with having sex “against the order of nature”. But owing to delays by the state prosecutor, the case had been postponed to an unknown date. 

    “These men have already spent over a year in prison having been denied bail in a case where they are accused of something that should not be a crime. Locking up people on the basis of their real or perceived sexual orientation is reprehensible and a clear breach of international law and justice” said Simeon Mawanza, Amnesty International’s Zambia researcher.

    May 16, 2014

    Governments around the world are failing to live up to their obligations to protect the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people, Amnesty International said on the eve of the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia.

    “Ahead of a season of Pride events, governments across the globe need to step up and fulfil their responsibility to allow people to express themselves, protected from homophobic violence,” said Michael Bochenek, Amnesty International’s Senior Director for Law and Policy.

    “Recent Pride marches have been blighted by bans and violent attacks – this cannot continue. Discrimination and restrictions on the rights to freedom of assembly and expression plague the lives of LGBTI people all over the world.”

    In a number of countries there is a marked lack of will to tackle homophobia and transphobia. The authorities in some countries even go so far as to encourage it by introducing and implementing legislation and regulations that undermine the rights of LGBTI people to freely express themselves - in contravention of states’ international obligations.

    May 15, 2014

    On May 17, the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (and the unofficial start of Pride season), send a message of hope to activists in Haiti, who tirelessly work to end discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, despite threats and violence.

    Kouraj (Haitian creole for “courage”) is an organization promoting the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people in Haiti.

    In summer 2013, following public protests against same-sex relationships, Kouraj activists received threats. Leaflets were left at their office in Port-au-Prince warning them to stop their activities. The president of Kouraj, Charlot Jeudy, was directly targeted in one of the leaflets left at Kouraj’s premises, which stated “If Charlot doesn’t shut his mouth, we’ll shut it for him.” Charlot also received anonymous calls accusing homosexuals of being the source of the country’s problems, including the 2010 earthquake which struck Haiti and killed 200,000 people. There were also reports of threats and violence against the wider LGBTI community during that time.

    May 15, 2014

    Released: 5:00 am BST, May 15, 2014

    Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people in Uganda have reported a surge in human rights violations since the passage of the Anti-Homosexuality Act on December 20, 2013, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said today.


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