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LGBTI Rights

    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."

    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.

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