Archive for June, 2010

European Parliament welcome EU’s adoption of equality toolkit

James Sanders | news.PinkPaper.com | Wednesday, 30 June 2010

The European Parliament has welcomed the European Union’s adoption of a toolkit to promote and protect gay and lesbian rights, this week.

The European Parliament has welcomed the European Union’s adoption of a toolkit to promote and protect gay and lesbian rights, this week.

The document, prepared by the intergovernmental EU body in consultation with civil society organisations, outlines what the European Union should be doing abroad to defend the human rights of gay people. Read more.

Read a copy of the toolkit here.

UNAIDS Reinforces Role in Combating HIV/AIDS Among Men Who Have Sex with Men

Thank you to amfAR for allowing Global Equality Today to re-post

U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT INSTRUMENTAL IN LOBBYING EFFORTS

NEW YORK, June 28, 2010—amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, on Monday welcomed the news that the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board (PCB) called  for the intensifying of efforts to meet the health needs of men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender people and applauded the U.S. State Department for helping to support the board’s decision.

The PCB meeting, which last week brought together more than 300 participants and observers from United Nations Member States, international organizations, and NGOs—including representatives from amfAR—marked a turning point in the official UNAIDS response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. MSM are deemed a vulnerable population in large part because widespread prejudice and discrimination often consign them to the margins of society and limit their access to HIV prevention, treatment, and care. Currently, nearly 80 countries have laws that ban same-sex sexual behavior, and, on average, MSM in developing countries are 19 times more likely to be HIV-positive than the general population.

“We cannot reach vulnerable populations with life-saving public health services if their behavior is against the law,” said Michel Sidibe, executive director of UNAIDS.

The U.S. State Department, which oversees PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief), one of the largest international contributors to the AIDS relief effort, recently identified MSM as a key population in its five-year strategy. Addressing the board, a PEPFAR representative underscored the important role that targeting MSM and protecting human rights must play in an effective global HIV/AIDS response.

“As we intensify outreach to persons who engage in high-risk behaviors, including MSM, sex workers, and injecting drug users, our strategies must be sensitive to the individuals participating in high-risk behaviors,” said Deborah von Zinkernagel, principal deputy global AIDS coordinator for the State Department, during her remarks at the meeting. “No matter how effective the intervention, it is imperative that we engage with respect for human rights.”

With the new direction, the PCB requested that UN Member States, with support from UNAIDS, determine ways to involve key populations at risk in HIV programs and data collection.

amfAR has long recognized that a strong HIV/AIDS response must include specific outreach to MSM and transgender populations. In response to high infection rates among MSM, in 2007 amfAR established the MSM Initiative, which so far has awarded more than $1.9 million in grants to support 79 front-line organizations serving MSM in 53 countries.

“While community groups are leading the response in many low- and middle-income countries, their impact will remain limited if MSM and other vulnerable groups are not included in government and multilateral planning efforts,” said Chris Collins, amfAR’s vice president and director of public policy, who addressed the board. “Only by including the affected group in decision making and program design can you be effective.”

About amfAR
amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, is one of the world’s leading nonprofit organizations dedicated to the support of AIDS research, HIV prevention, treatment education, and the advocacy of sound AIDS-related public policy. Since 1985, amfAR has invested more than $307 million in its programs and has awarded grants to more than 2,000 research teams worldwide.

Council Representatives Join Secretary Clinton, USAID Administrator Shah to Discuss LGBT Human Rights

Secretary Clinton and USAID Administrator Shah spoke about integrating LGBT human rights with U.S. foreign policy in a State Department briefing on Tuesday, June 22.

Following keynote remarks by Secretary Clinton and Administrator Shah, Assistant Secretary Eric Schwartz, from the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, discussed concerns for LGBT refugees.  The event concluded with a panel discussion by Deputy Assistant Secretary Dan Baer, from the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor; Mark Bromley, Chair of the Council for Global Equality; and Cary Alan Johnson, Executive Director of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC).

Later that afternoon, the State Department’s Africa Bureau hosted a working roundtable with four notable human rights activists from Africa to discuss how the State Department can promote LGBT rights in the face of hostile legal and cultural environments on the African continent.

U.S. Department of State Announces Change Regarding Gender on Passports

U.S. Department of State announced that beginning on June 10 transgender individuals will need to present certification from an attending physician that the applicant has “undergone appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition” in order to declare a new gender on the passport. Under the previous rules, the individual applying for the passport change was required to have completed sexual reassignment surgeries  The new rules also allow for an individual to obtain a limited-validity passport if the physician’s statement shows the applicant is in the process of gender transition.

Read the full State Department Press Release.

View story by Christine Simmons of the Associated Press

The Council for Global Equality submits shadow report to the U.S. Department of State

This week, the Council for Global Equality, together with Global Rights, Human Rights Campaign, Human Rights First, National Center for Lesbian Rights, and Immigration Equality submitted a shadow report to the U.S. Department of State on how the United States could do a better job adhering to its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The report covered a variety of issues that impact the LGBT populations in the United States, and suggests recommendations for how the United States can more fully adhere to its promises under that international treaty. This report complements an earlier submission for the Universal Periodic Review – another mechanism that the United Nations utilizes to regularly monitor the human rights records of all its member nations. Read the full report here.

In The Life – Intersections of Church and State

Watch this months In The Life documentary on how religious organizations are using their money and influence to sanction homophobia around the world. Mark Bromley of the Council for Global Equality is one of the many experts interviewed for this piece. Check your local PBS stations for airtimes or visit http://www.inthelifetv.org/ to find out more

more about “Intersections of Church and State“, posted with vodpod

Presidential Proclamation–Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month

The White House as issued a proclamation commemorating June as LGBT Pride Month.

Read the full proclamation here


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