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LGBTI Rights

    September 18, 2013

    The European Union (EU) and its member-states are failing to tackle homophobic and transphobic hate crimes and to protect all individuals from discrimination, harassment and violence, Amnesty International said in a report published today.

    “Hate-motivated violence has a particularly damaging and long-term effect on victims. Yet, the EU as well as many of its members do not recognize crimes based on the perceived sexual orientation or gender identity as hate crimes in their legislation. This is unacceptable because sexual orientation and gender identity are protected grounds of discrimination in international human rights law,” said Marco Perolini, Amnesty International’s expert on discrimination in Europe and Central Asia.

    Amnesty International’s report, Because of who I am: Homophobia, transphobia and hate crime in Europe, highlights gaps in the legislation of many European countries where sexual orientation and gender identity are not explicitly included as grounds on which hate crimes can be perpetrated. The report also points out the inadequacy of current EU standards on hate crime for tackling homophobic and transphobic violence.

    September 17, 2013

    Zambia postpones same-sex conduct trial

    The postponement of the trial against two Zambian men charged with same-sex sexual conduct whilst they continue to languish in prison is compounding their suffering, Amnesty International said.

    “These men should not be facing the courts in the first place. Postponing the trial condemns these men to even more time in prison simply because of outrageous charges against them based on their perceived sexual orientation,” said Simeon Mawanza, Amnesty International’s Zambia researcher.

    The trial, which was due to start yesterday, was deferred as the presiding magistrate, Mr John Mbudzi, had to attend an urgent family matter. No new date has been confirmed yet.

    Philip Mubiana, a hair dresser and James Mwape, a brick layer, were charged with committing acts “against the order of nature”. They have been in custody for more than four months after being denied bail. If convicted they face a minimum of 15 years in jail.

    September 11, 2013

    Zambia must immediately drop the charges against two men accused of same-sex sexual conduct and release them from prison unconditionally, Amnesty International said ahead of a court hearing Thursday.

    “It is high time that individuals stopped being persecuted because of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Human rights are about the dignity and equality of all people,” Said Simeon Mawanza, Amnesty International’s Zambia researcher.

    James Mwape and Philip Mubiana, both 22 years old, will appear in court on 12 September in the Zambian town of Kapiri Mposhi for a remand hearing.  They have been in custody since 6 May 2013 facing two counts each of committing offences “against the order of nature”.
     
    The pair were initially arrested on 25 April 2013 and detained until 2 May 2013 when they were granted bail. After their release they were arrested for the second time just four days later following another report to police by a neighbour.

    September 06, 2013

    Ukraine’s bid to persuade the European Commission to release the country from its commitment to legislate against homophobia is an unacceptable attempt to deny equal rights in the country, Amnesty International said today.

    “Ukraine cannot pick and choose which citizens should be protected from discrimination. Instead it must honour its commitment to develop a legal framework to combat homophobia and the EU must hold it to that commitment at every opportunity,” said Denis Krivosheev, Europe and Central Asia Deputy Director at Amnesty International.

    On Thursday Ukraine’s Parliamentary Commissioner for Human Rights, Valeriya Lutkowska, announced that she and a number of parliamentarians said they will travel to Brussels to persuade the EU to release the country from its responsibility to legislate against discrimination.

    In June 2013, the Ukrainian government made a commitment to the EU that it would develop a legal framework to protect minorities from discrimination.

    September 04, 2013

    World leaders gathering in St. Petersburg this week must condemn Russia’s draconian homophobic law and do all in their power to persuade authorities to scrap it, Amnesty International said ahead of the G20 meeting starting next 5 September.

    “Russia’s new law effectively banning public activism by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) individuals has done nothing but create a climate of intolerance and promote violence by vigilante groups,” said John Dalhuisen, Europe and Central Asia Director at Amnesty International.
     
    The law, which came into force last July, imposes fines on individuals and organizations accused of promoting “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” which it says could morally corrupt children.

    August 19, 2013

    Capital Pride and Amnesty International are holding a Human Rights Vigil on Thursday August 22nd from 8:00–9:00pm at the Human Rights Monument, located on Elgin Street at Lisgar Street. The vigil will honour the many LGBTI people globally who have faced persecution, violence, and in many cases death because of their sexuality or gender identity.

    Leading LGBTI activists will speak about how difficult it is to “Be Loud, Be Proud” in many parts of the world, and a sneak peek at a new documentary film on homophobia in Jamaica will be screened. The names of those whose lives have been lost to homophobia in the past year will be read out, followed by a moment of silence.

    A contrast to the fun-filled parade and some of the other events during Capital Pride, the Human Rights Vigil serves as a reminder that for people in many parts of the world it is not possible to “Be Loud, Be Proud,” and there is much work left to be done to ensure that the human rights of LGBTI individuals the world over are protected.

    July 18, 2013

    The reintroduction of the regulation on the transmission of infectious diseases by the Greek Health Minister puts vulnerable groups including sex workers, HIV positive individuals and drug-injecting users at risk of further discrimination and stigmatization. Amnesty International calls on the Greek authorities to immediately overturn the new regulation and to end these discriminatory practices, which violate European and International human rights obligations.
    The regulation by Greece’s new Health Minister, Adonis Georgiadis, comes after Thessaloniki police escalated arbitrary ID checks of transgender women in late May this year.

    July 01, 2013

    President Vladimir Putin’s new laws criminalising blasphemy and outlawing public activism by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) individuals are an affront to freedom of expression and an attack on minority rights Amnesty International said today.  

    “This is the reality of Russia today – the suppression of any form of dissent or diverging views in all spheres of life, from the political to the social. This demonstrates once again the disregard the authorities there have for their international and national obligations in promoting the human rights of all people under their jurisdiction,” said John Dalhuisen

    The law criminalizing blasphemy which came into force today imposes fines of up to RUB 500,000 (over USD 15,000) and up to three years of imprisonment for public actions which disrespect or insult the religious beliefs of people in places of worship. If committed elsewhere, the offence carries up to a year of imprisonment and fine of up to RUB 300,000. $9,000 USD.

    June 27, 2013

    Amnesty International is seriously concerned about the ongoing clampdown in Russia against civil society. The organization strongly condemns the use of the “Foreign Agents Law” to prosecute and hold personally liable the leaders of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that refuse to be labelled in a manner that creates a negative public image of their work in the eyes of the Russian society.  

    The “Foreign Agents Law” requires all organizations that receive foreign funding and engage in loosely defined "political activities" to register as “foreign agents” and to subject themselves to additional and burdensome checks and audits and mark all of their publications and websites with this label, which implies "spy" and "enemy". Amnesty International has previously expressed concern that this legislation, in its entirety, negatively affects the rights to freedom of expression and association.

    June 26, 2013

    (Washington) - Frank Jannuzi, deputy executive director of Amnesty International USA, issued the following comments in response to the Supreme Court ruling today on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s Proposition 8:

    "We welcome the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down section 3 of DOMA to ensure that legally married same-sex couples can access federal benefits.  However, we are concerned about the Court’s decision on California’s Proposition 8 which effectively punts on the issue of marriage equality for same-sex couples throughout the United States.

    Marriage equality for same-sex couples is a human right.  By effectively denying recognition of marriage rights for same-sex couples outside of the state of California, the Court has allowed to continue a discriminatory legal system that also prevents many people from accessing a range of other rights, such as rights to housing and health care, and stigmatizes those relationships in ways that can fuel discrimination and other human rights abuses against people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity."

    June 26, 2013

    NEW YORK – On the eve of President Obama’s trip this week to Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania, Amnesty International USA is urging the president to demand greater respect for and protection of human rights across the African continent. In a letter sent to the president last week, Amnesty International USA asked him to address the issues of gender-based violence, violence and discrimination against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) communities. Today, Amnesty International released a report documenting escalating homophobia and arrests of LGBTI individuals across Africa. The letter also urged attention be paid to ending gender based violence against women and deepening threats to civil society.

    June 26, 2013

    The municipal authorities of the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, must allow the upcoming Baltic Pride to take place, Amnesty International said today.

    After a meeting held today with the Lithuania Gay League, organizers of the 27 July march, and Amnesty International, the Vilnius municipality authorities said the event cannot be held in the city centre and failed to propose an alternative route.

    “It is appalling that despite domestic rulings in favour of Baltic Pride organisers, the city of Vilnius has decided to ban the Baltic Pride march, in blatant violation of the right to freedom of assembly of Baltic Pride’s organisers and other participants,” said John Dalhuisen, Europe and Central Asia Director at Amnesty International.

    “The Vilnius authorities must promptly reopen the discussions with Baltic Pride organizers to ensure that the event takes place without hindrance and with adequate protection by police.”

    June 05, 2013

    President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria  should not sign into law a draconian new bill that would formalize discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people and have wide-ranging effects on civil liberties in the country, 10 Nigerian and international human rights groups said today. 

    On May 30, 2013, Nigeria’s House of Representatives passed the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Bill, which would impose a prison sentence of up to 14 years for anyone found guilty of engaging in same-sex relationships. The Senate had already passed a similar bill.

    If signed into law, the bill would also criminalize freedom of speech, association, and assembly.

    “The bill is a throwback to past decades under military rule when these civil rights were treated with contempt,” said Lucy Freeman, deputy director of the Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

    May 27, 2013

    Amnesty International and the organizers of KyivPride 2013 welcome the cooperation and protection provided by the Ukrainian police during Saturday’s first ever successful LGBTI Pride March in Ukraine. The Ministry of Internal Affairs’ recognition and fulfillment of their obligation to protect the right to freedom of peaceful assembly for LGBTI people is an important step in combating discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity in Ukraine.

    However, both Amnesty International and the KyivPride organizers remain concerned that the Kyiv City Council chose to ban the Pride March from the city centre, forcing organizers to change to an alternative location at the last moment and curtailing participant’s right to freedom of peaceful assembly. Amnesty International and the Kyiv Pride organizing committee urge the authorities not to impose such limitations on events where LGBTI people seek to peacefully express their views in future.

    May 20, 2013

    The Moldovan authorities must ensure that yesterday's historic Pride march in the capital Chisinau is the "first of many" and is followed up by other steps to combat homophobic discrimination, Amnesty International said today.

    Around 100 people participated in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) Pride parade, the first such event in Moldova.

    The march, which was organized by Gender-Doc Moldova, a national NGO working on LGBTI issues, was stopped early due to threats from counter-demonstrators.

    "This is a red-letter day for LGBTI rights in Moldova; now the authorities must publicly support Pride marches and enable this event to be the first of many of its kind," said Amnesty International's David Diaz-Jogeix, Deputy Director of Europe and Central Asia Programme.

    "The abrupt ending of the march shows more still needs to be done in the fight against discrimination in Moldova. If the LGBTI movement is allowed to blossom, a more tolerant society will follow."

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