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LGBTI Rights

    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.

    April 15, 2014

    A millions lives would improve thanks to Supreme Court's recognition of transgender people’s human rights, Amnesty International India said today.

    A two-judge bench of the Supreme Court ruled that discrimination based on gender identity violated constitutionally guaranteed rights to equality, free expression, privacy, autonomy and dignity. The Court directed central and state governments to grant legal recognition to transgender persons’ self-identification as male, female or a ‘third gender’; and put in place affirmative action and social welfare policies for them.

    “This ruling has the potential to significantly alter the lives of people who have suffered oppression for years,” said Shashikumar Velath, Programmes Director of Amnesty International India.  

    “It reaffirms constitutional values of inclusion and equality but as long as Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code stays on the books, discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity will remain a threat,” said Shashikumar Velath.

    March 28, 2014
    By Gloria Nafziger, Refugee, Migrants and Country Campaigner

    There is nothing bogus about the real life events which Gary shared with me. As a gay man in a small Caribbean Island country he tells me he had no social life. He was afraid of being out in public, and pretty much went from home to work and not much else. He had a job but was repeatedly the target of verbal and psychological abuse as a man who everyone suspected was gay.  

    There were no shelters or social groups for him to turn to. He never got beaten up, but that was because he didn’t put himself into dangerous situations. He thought the best way to stay safe was to stay under the radar and not make himself visible. The laws in his country provide for a 15 year prison sentence for homosexual acts. He knew it would be foolish to make complaints about mistreatment which might only draw further unwanted attention.

    February 24, 2014

    In January this year, Elena Klimova was charged under Russia’s new anti-'gay propaganda' law for running "Children 404", a website offering support to LGBTI teenagers.

    On February 21st, Elena's case was heard in court. The court ruled in her favour. Elena has been told that she can continue Children 404, her project that offers a lifeline to Russian teens.

    Thank you to Amnesty supporters for taking action to free Elena Klimova

    Tens of thousands of Amnesty supporters sent a message to Russian authorities, calling on them to drop the charges against Elena. Thank you. We'll continue to monitor the situation, and let you know if we need your support again.

    25-year old Elena is a journalist. After writing a series of articles about LGBTI teenagers in Russia last March, she encountered a group of people rejected by their peers, families and teachers, with nowhere to go for support.

    February 24, 2014

    President Museveni has just signed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law. It is a draconian and damaging piece of legislation, Amnesty International said today.

    SHOW YOUR SOLIDARITY with Uganda’s LGBTI community

    This note sent to Amnesty International in January 2014 by a Ugandan LGBTI activist shows just how much our solidarity means to activists in Uganda.

    "The solidarity cards were amazing. I cried for a while when I received them. When I suggested the solidarity cards for the lgbt community, I didn't know the impact they would have.

    Public statements have great impact, but personal messages provide us as individuals with strength to keep you going . The timing couldn't have been better. Thank you. Really, thank you."
     

    February 19, 2014

    Dear Senators,

    The following organizations, representing a broad cross section of civil society groups from across Canada, urge the Senate to pass Bill C-279, the Gender Identity Bill, as drafted and without delay, to ensure that the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Canadian Criminal Code protect the human rights of all people in Canada.

    We recognize the violence and discrimination faced by the trans/transsexual/transgender/ intersex/two-spirit/gender variant (“trans”) community in Canada. In a recent nationwide survey, 74% of transgender youth reported experiencing verbal harassment in school, and 37% reported experiencing physical violence. Transgender individuals in Ontario face unemployment over three times the national rate and many more are underemployed. As a result of discrimination and bullying, the trans community faces high rates of mental health issues. Rates of depression are as high as two-thirds; 77% of transgender individuals in Ontario report having considered suicide, and 43% have attempted suicide at least once.

    February 10, 2014
    Like in Syria the Lebanese Penal Code considers ‘homosexual acts’ illegal

    By Khairunissa Dhala, Refugee Researcher at Amnesty International

    When Khalil, 26, entered Lebanon having escaped the conflict and humanitarian crisis in Syria, he thought his life would finally improve.

    But one night, he was lured into a meeting with two men. He says they raped him, stole money from his wallet and his mobile phone.

    Khalil never reported the alleged rape to the police. He is a refugee, and he is also gay. He feared he would be penalized, and that no one would care about what had happened to him.

    Since then, he has tried to commit suicide – a friend found him and took him to hospital.

    Although Lebanon is often perceived as more tolerant than most countries in the region, like in Syria the Lebanese Penal Code considers ‘homosexual acts’ illegal. The country’s lesbian gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex (LGBTI) community is growing in prominence but the issue is still a taboo.

    As one of the nearly one million refugees from Syria in Lebanon, Khalil claims to suffer daily discrimination on the basis of his nationality. But as a gay man he faces further hardship.

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