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LGBTI Rights

    May 17, 2013

    Police in the Georgian capital Tbilisi failed to protect  lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) activists as thousands of people violently attacked a Pride event today in what Amnesty International said was an ineffective response to organized and violent homophobia.

    Georgian LGBTI activists were assembling in the capital's Pushkin park for a peaceful rally to mark the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) when the event was cut short by a throng of angry counter-protesters reported to number in the thousands.

    The ensuing violence resulted in 17 people being injured – 12 of whom were hospitalized, including three policemen and a journalist.

    “Ironically this shameful violence marred a day that is meant to mark solidarity in the face of homophobic violence around the world, and it shows that the Georgian authorities have a long way to go to promote tolerance and protect LGBTI people and their human rights,” said John Dalhuisen, Europe and Central Asia Programme Director at Amnesty International.

    May 16, 2013

    Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) people in Ukraine continue to face discrimination, and many are targeted for violence and abuse by public officials and members of the public.

    Amnesty International has documented several violent attacks against LGBTI people, some carried out by public officials, and some by members of the public. In some cases such attacks have resulted in death. Yet the authorities fail to investigate these crimes promptly, thoroughly, effectively and impartially, and, moreover, fuel the pervasive negative stereotypes about LGBTI people in Ukrainian society which underpin the attacks.

    Amnesty International therefore recommends that the Ukrainian government take negative stereotypes and hatred against LGBTI people on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity into account in the investigation, prosecution and sentencing of hate crimes.

    May 16, 2013

    The Ukrainian government must introduce legislation to address discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity following a number of attacks on individuals, Amnesty International said in a report published today.

    Lawmakers should also vote down proposed legislation to criminalize the “propaganda of homosexuality”, something that is being debated in Parliament at the moment.

    “People have been beaten and in one case murdered because of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Most of these crimes have not been properly investigated and have gone unpunished,” said Max Tucker, an Amnesty International expert on Ukraine.

    “To add insult to injury, the possibility of attack is now routinely used as an excuse to deprive gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people of their rights to express themselves and to hold public events in a peaceful manner.”

    May 08, 2013

    The Zambian authorities must immediately release two young men who have been denied bail after being arrested on charges of having sex “against the order of nature”, Amnesty International said.

    According to state media, police in Kapiri Mposhi in central Zambia on Monday arrested Phil Mubiana and James Mwansa, both aged 21, in Ndeke village.

    Sources have told Amnesty International that one of the men’s neighbours reported them to the police, resulting in the arrest – their second for alleged same-sex sexual conduct, considered a crime under Zambia’s penal code.

    April 25, 2013

    By George Harvey, the action circle coordinator on LGBT issues in Toronto.


      Amnesty International joins human rights enthusiasts everywhere in applauding the recent decision by the governments of Uruguay, New Zealand, and France to legalize same sex marriage.

    Equal marriage is an important step for the LGBTQ community on the path towards equality, freedom from discrimination and the right to live with dignity.

    The path towards marriage equality has been a challenging one and the courageous and determined work of equal rights activists should be acknowledged.  LGBTQ individuals have faced many challenges, even within the activist community.  It is important to realize that the loving relationship between two individuals of the same gender is just as deserving of the legal and social recognition that comes with the term marriage as every other relationship.

    April 12, 2013

    The Uruguayan Parliament’s adoption of the Equal Marriage Act on 10 April will bolster human rights protections and bring an inclusive society for all a step closer, Amnesty International said.

    Uruguay is the second country in Latin America to allow equal marriage for same sex couples – after Argentina legalized it in 2010.

    “The approval of equal marriage and adoption for same sex-couples is supported by Amnesty International’s position that the right to marry and found a family, as set out in international human rights law, should be applied without discrimination, including for same-sex couples”, said Javier Zúñiga, Special Advisor at Amnesty International.

    “The passing of the law has been possible mainly thanks to the persistence and campaigning of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) and other civil society organizations in an out of Uruguay.”

    “This is an important step towards full equality for LGBTI people in South America, where discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity remains high.”

    February 19, 2013

    A European Court of Human Rights ruling that Austria discriminated against a woman by refusing to consider her request to adopt her female partner’s biological child, must be followed by legal reform Amnesty International said.

    “This welcome decision must prompt the Austrian government to shake up its thinking and its laws,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Director for Europe and Central Asia. 

    The Court ruled today that the couple in X and others v Austria had been discriminated against because of their sexual orientation, as heterosexual couples were not subjected to the same restrictions in Austria. 

    The case centred around Austrian laws that have led courts to specifically exclude requests from people wanting to adopt their same-sex partner’s child, whereas, for example, a man not married to his female partner can adopt her biological children.

    The Austrian government argued before the Court that its laws were designed to uphold a traditional model of the family.

    January 25, 2013

    Russia’s Parliament has backed a bill which outlaws the “propaganda of homosexuality among minors” in a move that will restrict fundamental human rights and is in breach of the country’s international obligations to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people from discrimination, Amnesty International said today.

    The State Duma voted almost unanimously in favour of the controversial measure with only one parliamentarian against and another abstaining, during the first reading.

    The law would make the “promotion of homosexuality among minors” an administrative offence in federal law, with fines of up to 500,000 roubles (US$ 16,200).

    “This law is an attack on the right to freedom of expression,” said David Diaz-Jogeix, Europe and Central Asia Programme Deputy Director at Amnesty International.

    There is no legal definition in the Russian law of what constitutes ‘propaganda of homosexuality’ and the law could be interpreted very loosely. They are going to punish people for something which is perfectly legitimate – expressing themselves, being themselves.

    January 08, 2013

    The acquittal of two Cameroonian men jailed for "looking gay" because they wore women’s clothes exposes the systematic discrimination against perceived homosexuals in the country, Amnesty International said today as the pair's convictions were overturned by an appeals court.

    Jonas Kimie and Franky Ndome have spent more than a year in prison following their arrest outside a nightclub in the capital Yaoundé in July 2011. They are among numerous people in Cameroon who have faced persecution for their perceived homosexuality.

    The two men are awaiting release from jail after Yaoundé's Court of Appeal yesterday declared them innocent of homosexuality.
    "Jonas Kimie and Franky Ndome must now be released without delay," said Godfrey Byaruhanga.,central Africa researcher at Amnesty International.

    "The appeal court's ruling is a positive step, but the Cameroon authorities must do more to end discrimination of people accused of same-sex relations."

    December 17, 2012

    Russian politicians must reject a controversial new law that targets what it describes as the “propaganda of homosexuality among minors” when it comes before the country’s Parliament or “Duma” on 19 December, Amnesty International said.

    In a letter to the State Duma, the organization is calling on parliamentarians to respect the country’s international obligations to protect the right to freedom of expression and assembly of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people.

    The law would make the “promotion of homosexuality among minors” an administrative offence in federal law, with fines of up to 500,000 roubles (US$ 16,200).

    But because there is no proper explanation for what constitutes “propaganda of homosexuality” it could thus be interpreted very loosely. Russian laws also do not define ‘homosexuality’.

    November 20, 2012

    European countries should take further steps to protect trans people from violence that has left in excess of a thousand dead worldwide in the past four years, Amnesty International urged on Trans Remembrance Day.

    There were 1,083 reported killings of trans people worldwide from 2008 to 2012, with research showing the number of deaths has risen each year.

    Data from the Trans Murder Monitoring show that 64 trans people were killed in Europe from 2008 to date. Yet throughout the continent, only Sweden, Scotland (United Kingdom) and Croatia (as of 1 January 2013) include violent attacks based on gender identity in anti-hate crime legislation.

    "Trans people are discriminated against and targeted for violence on the grounds of their gender identity and expression - in Europe and around the world," said Marco Perolini, Amnesty International's discrimination expert.

    "This lack of protection against gender identity-based violence flouts human rights standards, and fails to acknowledge that transphobic hate crime is a form of discrimination”.

    November 08, 2012

    In the early hours of 24 April 2011, Easter Sunday, a 24 year old lesbian woman, Noxolo Nogwaza, was murdered on her way home from a night out with friends. Her attacker(s) raped, repeatedly beat and stabbed her before dumping her body in a drainage ditch. According to organisations spoken to by Amnesty International, Noxolo was targeted because of her sexual orientation. A year after her death, no progress has been made in the investigation into her murder and her killer(s) remain at large.

    Human Rights Don't Discriminate

    LGBTI rights are human rights

    A person's sexual orientation or gender identity can lead to abuse in the form of discrimination, violence, imprisonment, torture, or even execution, and these abuses are all illegal under international human rights law. Amnesty International works to protect the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) individuals by shining a light on rights abuses, calling for policy change, and working to protect LGBTI human rights defenders. Amnesty International considers anyone imprisoned solely because of homosexuality to be prisoners of conscience who should be immediately and unconditionally released.


     Amnesty International, in partnership with the Ottawa Public Library, presents Last Chance, a National Film Board feature documentary by Paul Émile d’Entremont. Last Chance tells the stories of 5 asylum seekers fleeing homophobic violence in their native countries, and the hurdles they face in coming to Canada.

    Panel discussion with representatives from Ottawa LGBTQ and refugee organizations to follow.

    Free to attend - get your ticket here. 


    OPL/BPO Canada 150, en partenariat avec Amnistie Internationale, présente Last Chance, un documentaire de l’Office national du film réalisé par Paul Émile d’Entremont. Last Chance raconte le parcours de cinq demandeurs d’asile qui ont fui leur pays d’origine pour échapper à la violence homophobe, et les obstacles qu’ils doivent surmonter au Canada.

    Join Amnesty International as we march in the Ottawa Pride parade! The parade starts at 1:30pm, so we will meet at 12:30pm. The pre-parade meeting spot is on Argyle Street between Bank & O'Connor. It will be closed off to traffic. If you arrive before 11am, that's where we'll be. Our 'call time' is at 11am, which means we'll get taken to our spot in the parade. Someone will post an update to this page once we know where our spot is.

    We will have signs, stickers, and other Amnesty swag for marchers!

    We will also have a table at the community fair following the parade, with actions is support of LGBTI refugees, gay men in Chechnya, and equal rights in Japan - leave a comment if you would like to volunteer to staff the table! No previous experience required.


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