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LGBTI Rights

    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.

    February 09, 2014

    Amnesty International staff hand over 86,169 signatures to the Ugandan High Commission in London, calling for the Anti-Homosexuality Bill to be scrapped.© Azmina Dhrodia/Amnesty International

    Thousands of civil society activists, including Amnesty International supporters in the UK, Canada, Spain and Germany are acting together today in solidarity with campaigners in Uganda to show their opposition to Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill and call on President Museveni to veto it.  

    “If this deeply discriminatory bill is passed it will legalize the persecution of people on the grounds of their sexual orientation. Since the Bill was proposed there’s been an increase in homophobic arrests and mob violence. This is turning into a witch-hunt. President Museveni must veto the bill before the situation worsens,” said Gemma Houldey, Uganda Researcher at Amnesty International.

    February 04, 2014

    Released 1200 GMT (1300 CET), 4 February 2014

    European countries are violating the human rights of people trying to change their legal gender, said Amnesty International in a report published today. It details how transgender people are forced to undergo invasive surgery, sterilization, hormone therapy, psychiatric testing before they can change their legal status.

    "There are obviously transgender people who would like to access some of the available health treatments, but many others do not. States should not force the choices of transgender people by making legal gender recognition dependent on surgeries, hormone treatment or sterilization,” said Marco Perolini, Amnesty International’s expert on discrimination. 

    “Many transgender people have to overcome enormous difficulties in coming to terms with their identity, and problems are often compounded by blatant state discrimination.”

    January 29, 2014

    Authorities in Côte d’Ivoire must urgently investigate the unprecedented wave of homophobic attacks in Abidjan, which has forced many HIV workers to go into hiding, Amnesty International said.

    “The only way to stop the unprecedented homophobic witch-hunt taking place in Côte d’Ivoire is for the authorities to investigate the attacks and bring those responsible to justice. Failing to do that will only lead for more violence,” said Gaëtan Mootoo, West Africa researcher at Amnesty International.

    On 25 January 2014, the office of Alternative Côte d’Ivoire – an organization working for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersex people (LGBTI) living with HIV -- was ransacked by a mob of around 200 people. Computers were stolen and the security officer was beaten so badly he required medical treatment.

    When members of the organization contacted the police they were accused of being homosexuals and working as pimps and told that the police had more important work to do.

    January 16, 2014


    Jean-Claude Roger Mbede, a 34-year-old former Amnesty International prisoner of conscience, recently died an untimely death in Cameroon.        © Private

    Jean-Claude Roger Mbede died an untimely death on 10 January in his hometown, Ngoumou, Cameroon.

    According to media reports, his family prevented him from receiving necessary medical treatment – leaving him fighting for his life whilst his lawyers fought in the courts to appeal his earlier conviction for “homosexuality”.

    January 15, 2014

    Nigeria must immediately release the more than 10 people already arrested under a deeply oppressive new law that runs roughshod over a range of human rights and discriminates based on real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity, Amnesty International said.

    The arrests have been made in several Nigerian states such as Anambra, Enugu, Imo and Oyo states since Monday, when it was revealed that President Goodluck Jonathan had signed the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act into law.

    “Those arrested under this draconian new legislation must be released immediately and the charges against them dropped. Locking someone up for their sexual orientation violates the most basic human rights standards,” said Makmid Kamara, Amnesty International’s Nigeria Researcher.

    “Reports that the police in one state are apparently drawing up lists of members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community to target are extremely worrying.”

    December 20, 2013

    Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni must veto the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which was passed in a surprise vote this morning, Amnesty International said. The passage of the Bill – which dramatically increases the criminal penalties for consensual sexual activity between adults of the same sex – amounts to a grave assault on human rights. 

    In addition to violating rights to privacy, family life and equality, the bill threatens freedom of association and expression – all protected under Ugandan and international human rights law. It institutionalizes discrimination against already marginalized lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) individuals in the country.

    “President Museveni must veto this wildly discriminatory legislation, which amounts to a grave assault on human rights and makes a mockery of the Ugandan constitution,” said Aster van Kregten, Deputy Africa Director at Amnesty International.

    December 11, 2013

    A ruling by India’s Supreme Court making consensual same-sex conduct between adults a criminal offence marks a black day for freedom in India, Amnesty International India said today.

    “This decision is a body blow to people’s rights to equality, privacy and dignity,” said G Ananthapadmanabhan, Chief Executive, Amnesty International India. “It is hard not to feel let down by this judgement, which has taken India back several years in its commitment to protect basic rights.”

    The Supreme Court overturned a historic ruling by the Delhi High Court in 2009 which had decriminalized consensual same-sex activity between adults. The Supreme Court said that Section 377 - which criminalizes “carnal intercourse against the order of nature”- was constitutionally valid, and said that the Government could take legislative steps to repeal the law.

    The Delhi High Court had ruled in 2009 that the outlawing of consensual adult same-sex relations was discriminatory and violated the rights to equality, privacy and dignity set forth in the Indian Constitution.

    November 07, 2013

    The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) today declined to hold that the criminalization of consensual same-sex activity constitutes “persecution” for the purposes of EU asylum law, showing it is out of step with international human rights and refugee law, Amnesty International and the International Commission of Jurists said.  

    In X, Y and Z v Minister voor Immigratie, Integratie en Asiel the Luxembourg-based CJEU considered three joined cases arising from asylum requests lodged in the Netherlands by nationals of Senegal, Sierra Leone and Uganda. The three men claimed that they have a well-founded fear of persecution based on their – undisputed – same-sex sexual orientation and the fact that sex between men is criminalized in their home countries.

    November 04, 2013

    The Russian authorities must promptly find and bring to justice all those responsible for a violent homophobic attack in St Petersburg that has left two people injured, including one who has been left blind in one eye, Amnesty International said.

    According to local activists in St Petersburg, on Sunday night two masked men brandishing air guns and baseball bats attacked the office of LaSky, a non-governmental organization that provides support to gay people living with HIV.

    “This latest insidious attack is sadly characteristic of a widespread atmosphere of homophobia in Russia today. If nothing is done to combat the hate, the ground is fertile for further violence,” said Denis Krivosheev, Europe and Central Asia Deputy Director at Amnesty International.

    “The Russian authorities must seek out, investigate and prosecute all those responsible for these violent attacks. Russian President Putin has publicly said the country would welcome lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) activists at the upcoming Sochi Winter Olympics, but such pledges ring hollow in the face of these ongoing hate crimes.”

    September 27, 2013

    Amnesty International is disappointed by the failure of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to see the detrimental effect that Russia’s discriminatory legislation will have on the Games in Sochi.  

    "Russia’s law banning propaganda of ‘non-traditional sexual relations’ among minors is clearly discriminatory and in this it violates international law and runs counter to the Olympic Charter. Moreover, the introduction of the law creates an atmosphere in Russia that has already encouraged brutal crimes against people only because of their real or perceived sexual orientation,” Sergei Nikitin, Amnesty International’s Moscow Office Director.

    “The fact that the IOC has satisfied itself with Russian officials’ assurances of non-discrimination is not enough. It disregards the fact that Russian law effectively prohibits people from public expression of ‘non-traditional’ sexual orientation. This is an affront to gay and lesbian athletes and spectators. It is also a disappointment to sports fans across the world who care about the Olympic ideal.”


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