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LGBTI Rights

    June 26, 2019
    Drawing of the Human rights defenders who lead the Stonewall Riots in 1969

    Fifty years ago, nine New York police officers stormed the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street and began aggressively searching the bar’s patrons. They demanded identification and arrested anyone they suspected of being gay or dressed in a way that didn’t conform to mainstream society’s narrow understanding of gender.

    The events that followed would spark the modern LGBTI rights movement, inspiring the first LGBTI Pride parade down Christopher Street.  

    In 1969, it was still illegal to be gay in most parts of the US. For many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, nights out at places like the Stonewall Inn were the only times where they could openly be themselves. The venue was known for its celebration of inclusion and also became a safe space for sex workers and the homeless.

    In the early hours of 28 June 1969, as police started harassing everyone in the bar and dragging them into the backs of squad cars, the Stonewall patrons didn’t just protest a police raid on a bar: They were protecting their home.

     

    How did the Stonewall Riots start?

    May 16, 2019

    Amnesty International’s goal is to ensure that the human rights of everyone, everywhere are respected, protected, and upheld. We conduct research and generate action to prevent and halt human rights violations and demand justice for those whose rights have been violated.

    Amnesty International recognizes that lesbian, gay, transgender, queer, and two-spirit (LGBTQ2S), Indigenous, Black, and other people of colour in Canada and around the world disproportionately experience human rights violations perpetrated by the police, state actors, and non-state actors because of systems of oppression.

    State and police violence against LGBTQ2S, Indigenous, Black, and other people of colour violate the right to life; the rights to liberty and security of the person; the right to safety and to live free from violence  and discrimination; the rights to protest, freedom of expression, freedom of association, and peaceful assembly; and the right to live free from torture and other cruel and inhuman treatment.

    May 07, 2019

    Following news that the planned student Pride march at the Middle East Technical University (METU) will not be allowed to take place by the university’s rectorate, Fotis Filippou, Amnesty International’s Campaigns Director for Europe said:

    “For the last eight years students at this university have marched through their campus to celebrate Pride and demand equality and dignity for LGBTI people. It is celebration of love which sends a message of hope to all those struggling to uphold fundamental rights in Turkey and beyond.

    “Rather than banning Pride events, the university should be supporting and protecting such marches and challenging homophobia and transphobia. The Rectorate must reverse its decision and allow students without fear of intimidation or violence.”

    Background

    The march was scheduled to take place on 10 March.

    Turkish authorities must ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) individuals and their allies are able to enjoy their rights to freedom of expression and assembly without fear of intimidation or violence.

    April 24, 2019

    Zak Kostopoulos (also known as Zackie Oh, his drag stage name), a queer activist and human rights defender in Greece, died on September 21, 2018 following a violent attack. Zak was a tireless defender of the rights of LGBTI people and HIV-positive persons.

    Video footage taken by eye witnesses show that Zak was brutally beaten by two men after entering a jewelry shop in central Athens. Footage also shows police arriving and violently attempting to arrest Zak. According to the forensic report, Zak died from the multiple injuries he sustained.

    While an investigation into Zak’s death is ongoing, many are concerned about flaws and delays in the investigation as well as persistent systemic failings in investigations concerning cases of police violence in Greece.

    Following Zak’s killing, fake news was spread, and discriminatory comments were made about LGBTI people, people living with HIV, and people who use drugs. This must not be tolerated.  

    Urge Greek authorities to ensure #Justice4ZakZackie

    April 03, 2019

    Responding to the news that Brunei Darussalam has today finalised the implementation of a new Shariah Penal Code that introduces cruel punishments such as death by stoning for same-sex sexual acts and amputation for robbery, Stephen Cockburn, Deputy Director of Global Issues at Amnesty International, said:

    “We are extremely concerned that these heinous punishments have become law in Brunei today.

    “This new penal code allows punishments such as amputation or death by stoning which are unspeakably cruel and have no place anywhere in the world.

    “We are alarmed that the code criminalizes behaviour that should not be considered crimes at all. The international community must continue to condemn Brunei’s decision to put these cruel penalties into practice.

    “The Brunei authorities must refrain from implementing these laws, and must take necessary steps to repeal this unacceptable legislation and bring it in line with international human rights laws and standards.”

    These punishments are provided for in newly-implemented sections of Brunei’s Sharia Penal Code that will come into force today.

     

    April 01, 2019

    Two years after the violent ‘gay purge’ in Chechnya, Russian authorities have failed to provide justice for the victims, Amnesty International said today.

    In a crackdown revealed in 2017, dozens of men were abducted, tortured and killed for their real or perceived sexual orientation. To date, not one person has yet been held accountable for these crimes.

    “The Russian authorities have shown themselves to be complicit in heinous crimes committed in Chechnya against people believed to be gay or lesbian”, said Marie Struthers, Amnesty International’s Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

    “Two years after reports of a ‘gay purge’ sent shockwaves worldwide, it’s clear that the perpetrators have gone unpunished because of state-sponsored homophobia and impunity for human rights violations in Chechnya.”

    Meanwhile, authorities have also failed to provide effective protection to LGBTI rights defender Igor Kochetkov, the leading figure in the public investigation of the violent crackdown, who has recently received death threats.

    March 12, 2019

    Responding to reports that Brazilian police have arrested two men in Rio de Janeiro over the killing of human rights defender Marielle Franco and her driver Anderson Gomes on 14 March 2018, Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International, said:

    “This week marks one year since Marielle Franco was brutally killed, in an attack which devastated the many communities whose rights she fought to defend. Marielle’s killing was a blatant attempt to silence a brave human rights defender, who had devoted her life to advocating for women, LGBTI people and black youth in Rio favelas.”

    “These arrests are the first sign of progress in an investigation that has barely moved in the year since the killings. We are calling for the Brazilian authorities to ensure that investigations are independent and impartial, and to bring all those responsible, including those who ordered the crime, to justice in fair trials.”

    “There is no better way to honour Marielle Franco’s amazing legacy than by committing to protect human rights defenders and ensuring they can safely continue their vital work.”

    February 21, 2019

    Responding to the release of a draft law which will act as a legal basis for recognizing same-sex marriage in Taiwan, Annie Huang, Amnesty International Taiwan’s Director, said:

    “This is a huge step forward for marriage equality in Taiwan. The draft law is the first of its kind in Asia to allow same-sex marriage. It sends a strong message to the Taiwanese people and the world that Taiwan chooses love over hate, and equality over discrimination.

    “We welcome the bill proposed by Taiwan’s Executive Yuan. It pursues the equal protection of the freedom of marriage for two persons of the same sex, upholding the principles and spirit as laid out in the Constitutional Court’s ruling on 24 May 2017.

    “There are some areas where this separate law falls short of genuine marriage equality. This will require future reforms to fully align opposite-sex and same-sex marriage in law.”

    Background

    January 29, 2019

    By Natalia Prilutskaya, Russia Researcher at Amnesty International

    For the second time in less than two years, a violent homophobic crackdown has left LGBTI people in Chechnya fearing for their lives. Earlier this week the Russian LGBT Network confirmed reports that the Chechen authorities have resumed large-scale arrests of individuals believed to be gay or lesbian, imprisoning and torturing them. 

    According to the organization’s protected sources, around 40 people have been arrested since December and at least two people have died under torture. Police have also reportedly demanded that families of gay and lesbian people commit “honor” killings against their relatives and provide evidence of their murders. 

    October 26, 2018
    Myth 1: Everybody is either born male or female

    People often assume that the world is divided neatly into two groups of people, male and female, and that everyone’s biological and genetic characteristics fit into one of these two categories.

    But this is not always the case. There are millions of people around the world who have sexual characteristics that do not fit typical binary notions of male or female bodies. Many, though not all, of these people identify as intersex.

    Intersex is an umbrella term used to describe a wide range of natural variations that affect genitals, gonads, hormones, chromosomes or reproductive organs. Sometimes these characteristics are visible at birth, sometimes they appear at puberty, and sometimes they are not physically apparent at all.

    Myth 2: Being intersex is very rare

    According to experts, around 1.7% of the population is born with intersex traits - comparable to the number of people born with red hair.

    August 07, 2018

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Vancouver, August 7, 2018 – Canadian civil society organizations (CSOs), along with hundreds of LGBTI activists from around the world, came together over the last three days (Aug.

    August 02, 2018

    The world will be watching as Vancouver hosts international conference next week

    June 21, 2018

    Vitalina Koval, a 28-year-old LGBTI and women’s rights activist—and a central figure in the LGBTI community in Ukraine—has been attacked, harassed, and is in need of protection.

    June 18, 2018

    By Monica Benício

     

    This op-ed was written by Monica Benício, the widow of Marielle Franco, a courageous women human rights defender who was murdered in Brazil in March 2018. It was originally published in Portuguese in O Globo on June 12th, to mark Brazilian Valentine's Day.

     

    May 17, 2018

    The Lebanese authorities’ disruption of activities planned for Beirut Pride Week is an outrageous attempt to deny the human rights of LGBTI people, Amnesty International said today. The authorities cancelled events within the program launched to commemorate International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT), and briefly arrested Beirut Pride Week’s organizer Hadi Damien.

    “The shutdown of Beirut Pride and the arrest of Hadi Damien is a blatant case of state harassment. The Lebanese authorities must stop cancelling events to celebrate LGBTI rights, and ensure freedom of expression and assembly for the LGBTI community.

    “They must also stop arresting those perceived to be LGBTI, and drop charges and release those who have been arrested under the draconian legislation of Article 534. Activists have been bravely struggling to repeal this legislation for over a decade. We hope that the newly-elected members of parliament will recognize this struggle, and move forward with finally repealing it.

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