Archive for the 'Report' Category

President Obama Comments on Yesterday’s DOMA Supreme Court Ruling

President Obama’s remarks at a joint press conference in Senegal, where after speaking about yesterday’s Court decision on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), he addressed the treatment of LGBT people in Africa.

You can read the transcripts from the full press conference here.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, first of all, I think the Supreme Court ruling yesterday was not simply a victory for the LGBT community, it’s a victory for American democracy.  I believe at the root of who we are as a people, who we are as Americans is the basic precept that we are all equal under the law.  We believe in basic fairness.  And what I think yesterday’s ruling signifies is one more step towards ensuring that those basic principles apply to everybody.

When I spoke to Ms. Windsor — 83 years old — and I thought about the 40 years of her relationship and her partner, who is now passed, for her to live to see this day where that relationship was the vehicle whereby more people received their rights and are recognized as a testament to the love and commitment that they have made to each other, that was special.  And that’s just a microcosm of what it meant for families and their children all across America.  So it was a proud day I think for America.

Now, as you point out, there are a whole lot of implications that flow from it, because the Supreme Court did not make a blanket ruling that applies nationally, but rather lifted up the ability of states to recognize the dignity and respect of same-sex marriage, and that the federal government couldn’t negate the decision by those states.  We now have to comb through every federal statute.  And although we hadn’t pre-judged what the ruling had been, I had asked my White House Counsel to help work with lawyers across every agency in the federal government to start getting a sense of what statutes would be implicated and what it will mean for us to administratively apply the rule that federal benefits apply to all married couples.

What’s true though is that you still have a whole bunch of states that do not recognize it.  The Supreme Court continues to leave it up to the states to make these decisions.  And we are going to have to go back and do a legal analysis of what that means.  It’s my personal belief — but I’m speaking now as a President as opposed to as a lawyer — that if you’ve been married in Massachusetts and you move someplace else, you’re still married, and that under federal law you should be able to obtain the benefits of any lawfully married couple.  But I’m speaking as a President, not a lawyer.

So we’re going to be evaluating all these issues and making sure that we work through them in a systematic and prompt way, because now that the Supreme Court has spoken it’s important that people who deserve these benefits know that they’re getting them quickly.  And I know that, for example, Chuck Hagel already mentioned some work that the Department of Defense is doing on that front.  And I think we’re going to be seeing that in all the various agencies.

Now, this topic did not come up in the conversation that I had with President Sall in a bilateral meeting.  But let me just make a general statement.  The issue of gays and lesbians, and how they’re treated, has come up and has been controversial in many parts of Africa.  So I want the African people just to hear what I believe, and that is that every country, every group of people, every religion have different customs, different traditions.  And when it comes to people’s personal views and their religious faith, et cetera, I think we have to respect the diversity of views that are there.

But when it comes to how the state treats people, how the law treats people, I believe that everybody has to be treated equally.  I don’t believe in discrimination of any sort.  That’s my personal view.  And I speak as somebody who obviously comes from a country in which there were times when people were not treated equally under the law, and we had to fight long and hard through a civil rights struggle to make sure that happens.

So my basic view is that regardless of race, regardless of religion, regardless of gender, regardless of sexual orientation, when it comes to how the law treats you, how the state treats you — the benefits, the rights and the responsibilities under the law — people should be treated equally.  And that’s a principle that I think applies universally, and the good news is it’s an easy principle to remember.

Every world religion has this basic notion that is embodied in the Golden Rule — treat people the way you want to be treated.  And I think that applies here as well.

ILGA Launches Its 2013 Issue of the State-Sponsored Homophobia Report

ILGA_State_Sponsored_Homophobia_2013-coverGeneva, 15 May 2013 – The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) has launched its 2013 issue of the state-sponsored homophobia report, a world survey of laws on criminalisation, protection and recognition of same-sex love, from its newly opened office in Geneva.

“We are very proud of the format and the richness in information of this edition” said ILGA co-Secretaries General Renato Sabbadini and Gloria Careaga, “which make it easier to consult for anyone who wants to find out about legislation affecting – negatively or positively – lesbians and gays in the world today. The content of the report offers reasons for happiness and anger at the same time, as on the one hand we see how more and more countries adopt equal marriage and other pieces of progressive legislation, while on the other hand criminalisation on the basis of sexual orientation is maintained in 78 countries.”

“Moreover, an extremely worrying development is to be found in Russia, where the state does not criminalise same-sex sexual relations, but nevertheless sanctions and encourages homophobia by way of laws against LGBTI activists, preposterously defined by the Russian authorities as ‘homosexual propaganda’. It is no exaggeration” concluded Careaga and Sabbadini, “to say that the Russian State bears the moral responsibility for the homophobic murder of Vlad Tornovy in Volgograd few days ago. More needs to be done to fight homophobia, both in countries where being gay or lesbian is legal and in those where it is not.”

The report, edited by Lucas Paoli Itaborahy and Jingshu Zhu, has been presented at the City Hall of Geneva, at the presence of more than 30 UN Delegates.

Click here to download the report and here for the world map on lesbian and gay rights

For more information on the report and the related world map, click here.

HIAS’ report, “Invisible in the City,” examines protection gaps facing LGBTI refugees

Invisible in the City: Protection Gaps Facing Sexual Minority Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Urban Ecuador, Ghana, Israel and KenyaRemarks
Anne C. Richard
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
Washington, DC
May 7, 2013

Thank you, Mark, and thank you to the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society for bringing us together today to celebrate this important research on LGBT refugees and asylum seekers. I’d also like to recognize Yiftach Millo, lead researcher and author of the study we are all here to officially launch, “Invisible in the City: Protection Gaps Experienced by Sexual Minority Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Urban Ecuador, Ghana, Israel, and Kenya.” I commend Mr. Millo and his team for their innovative work to help protect these refugees.

HIAS continues to be a leader in helping expose and address the barriers faced that confront lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and intersex refugees. HIAS’s energy and vision is helping us all to find solutions to a real and persistent problem. Refugees and asylum seekers are already in a precarious position – they are at risk of exploitation, attack, and destitution. A refugee who is also part of a sexual minority is at even greater risk.

It has been over 20 years since Fidel Armanda Tobos Alfonso, a gay man from Cuba, was allowed to remain in the United States based on a judgement or understanding that he was at risk because of his sexual orientation. The Toboso-Alfonso decision paved the way for hundreds of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals as well as individuals with intersex conditions, to obtain refuge and asylum in the United States.

From the beginning of his Administration, President Obama has promoted the equal rights of LGBT people both at home and abroad. His Memorandum of December 2011 affirmed United States’s commitment to promoting the human rights of sexual minorities and specifically directed U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance agencies to protect vulnerable LGBT refugees and asylum seekers. Continue reading ‘HIAS’ report, “Invisible in the City,” examines protection gaps facing LGBTI refugees’

Campaign Against Homophobia Issues New Report on Social Situation of LGBT Persons in Poland

Report on Social Situation of LGBT persons in PolandCampaign Against Homophobia has issued a new report on social situation of LGBT persons in Poland. This unique publication shows results of the biggest in Poland quantative research conducted on the group of 14,000 gays, lesbians, bisexuals and trangender persons. The questions pertain to spheres of life such as education, work and family life in the context of discrimination or the influence of non-heterosexual orientation on social functioning.

Download the report here.

Serious Human Rights Abuses Directed at LGBT Populations in Every Region

2012 Human Rights ReportsThe State Department’s latest country human rights reports, released April 19, confirm the lack of respect that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people face in many areas of the world. However, the reports also point to a range of serious human rights abuses directed at LGBT populations in every region.

The Obama Administration has made a commendable effort to catalog instances and trends of LGBT abuse worldwide. We were pleased that Secretary Kerry specifically lauded the Department’s expanded coverage of LGBT rights in a speech marking the release of this year’s reports.

Of no surprise, hate crimes top the list of violent actions directed against LGBT people in many countries. But even more appalling, are the numerous instances of government officials’ complicity in LGBT abuse. For instance:

  • In Jamaica, prison wardens reportedly were involved in numerous incidents of violence against gay inmates.
  • In Chile, gay prisoners were denied access to hygienic services.
  • In Libya, a government-affiliated brigade arrested, detained, and beat 12 allegedly gay men who were at a private party.
  • A military unit in Moldova beat two gay men while verbally abusing them on grounds of their sexual orientation.
  • Cameroonian police detained three men, and jailed them for a week, because two of the men appeared effeminate; beat them until they confessed to being gay; then sentenced them to five years in prison.
  • In El Salvador, police officers allegedly physically abused a gay teenager, then made a phone call after which three gang members appeared and beat the teenager further.
  • In Kyrgyz Republic, LGBT groups documented 18 cases of police extortion.
  • Zimbabwean police raided the offices of an LGBT support organization; arrested 44 of its members; outed those members to families and employers (with consequences to jobs and family ties); and effectively closed the organization.

Many country reports also offer clear examples in which government authorities failed to fulfill their responsibility to protect the rights of LGBT citizens. As examples:

  • In El Salvador, for instance, police officers are alleged to have verbally and physically abused a 17-year-old gay adolescent, forcing him off a bus and then calling local gang members who beat the victim unconscious.
  • In Namibia, police ridiculed LGBT citizens who reported abuse.
  • When hundreds of demonstrators in Burkina Faso demanded that a gay couple leave their home, police took no protective action.
  • And LGBT citizens in the former Soviet Union faced extreme challenges to their democratic freedoms of speech and assembly: in Ukraine, a gay pride event was canceled after police said they would not protect participants in the face of extremist threats of violence; in Russia, the city of Moscow refused to allow a gay pride march to proceed.

These and other cases of government action and inaction deserve serious protest, and we trust that the State Department has directed our ambassadors to make clear our government’s official concern. Equally important, we hope our embassies in these and other countries are using all other available diplomatic tools to raise the profile of LGBT rights, and are targeting our foreign assistance to respond to the needs of LGBT communities.

The 2012 reports also underscore a clear need for attention to infringements of the rights of transgender people, including cases of extreme violence and targeted killings:

  • In Nicaragua the report highlights the murder of a young transgender woman, whose body was found with signs of sexual assault.
  • Transgender individuals in Indonesia are routinely abused, detained, and forced to pay bribes by local authorities.
  • Japanese authorities refused to list a married transgender man’s two-year-old son, who was conceived by artificial insemination, as a legitimate child.
  • In Malaysia, transgender Muslim citizens were fined under Sharia law for dressing and posing as women.
  • In Uganda, a local news station aired a video of police taunting a transgender individual by forcing the individual to undress in front of jeering onlookers.
  • In the United Arab Emirates, a transgender sex worker was beaten, tortured, and raped repeatedly while in prison.

Unfortunately these cases are not unique. The reports bear witness to similar violations and indignities against transgender individuals in every region of the world. We hope that all embassies will examine more carefully the situation of transgender people in their host countries, with a view to raising awareness with government officials well in advance of next year’s reports.

Some of this year’s reports also indicate emerging areas of human rights concern:

  • “Reparative Therapy”: The United Arab Emirates government forced some caught in consensual same-sex activity to undergo psychological treatment and counseling, while the Chinese government and some school districts promoted “reparative therapy” to avoid having LGBT children.
  • Internet and Religious Freedom: LGBT religious groups in South Korea saw their internet forum taken down, and Korea’s National Human Rights Commission refused to rectify this infringement of religious freedom.

We urge the Administration to take suitable steps to address these new efforts at intolerance, which we know are spreading to other countries and regions.

We are not raising these country-specific examples from the reports because they are in any way unique. To the contrary, these specific instances are highlighted here because we know them to be extremely typical of violations we have seen replicated the world over. Our hope, however, is that the human rights reports will cast an uncommon light – and appropriate shame – on these common violations.

Finally, despite all of these concerns, we are encouraged by a number of positive signs that some governments are beginning to address inequalities in how LGBT people are treated. For instance:

  • Colombian authorities created a national public policy framework for LGBT rights, along with a working group aimed at identifying problems of LGBT abuse and exclusion that call for community solutions.
  • The Cypriot Ministry of Education allowed an anti-homophobia training program to be carried out for teachers, the first-ever LGBT awareness training allowed in that country’s schools.
  • In Bangladesh, two government ministries led a pilot job training project for transgender citizens, instituted an awareness program to alter negative views of transgender people, and established a foundation through which the program can continue.
  • Montenegro passed legislation to provide government funds for gender reassignment surgery.
  • An Algerian gay rights group has been allowed to advertise advocacy and support efforts for the Algerian LGBT community through a website and Facebook account.
  • Increased media freedom in Tunisia has increased the flow of LGBT-related information to members of the LGBT community.
  • Kenyan LGBT advocacy organizations noted that homophobic hate speech had declined due to improved enforcement of hate speech laws and better media self-regulation.
  • And Poland’s legislature now includes both openly gay and transgender members – a political process breakthrough that portends greater awareness of the rights of LGBT citizens in that country.

We applaud these instances of leadership in efforts to promote fully inclusive societies. They both echo and amplify the growing appreciation in our own country that LGBT citizens deserve nothing more, or less, than full dignity and equal treatment under the law.

Download the full compendium of sexual orientation and gender identity references in the report here.

Divided Ex-gay Movement Still Encouraging “Conversion” Therapy in Latin America

Repost from Political Research Associates

Boston, MA, April 2, 2013: Exodus International, the U.S. network of Christian ministries prominent in the “ex-gay” movement, dramatically changed its position in January 2012 when Executive Director Alan Chambers announced that he no longer believed there was a “cure” to homosexuality. This allegedly put an end to the organization’s 35-year effort to “convert…LGBTQ people to heterosexuality through ‘submission to Jesus Christ.’” However, a new report by the social justice think tank Political Research Associates, The “Ex-Gay” Movement in Latin America: Therapy and Ministry in the Exodus Network, finds that the global network remains divided in its stance on harmful “conversion therapy” for LGBTQ individuals, particularly in Latin America. Continue reading ‘Divided Ex-gay Movement Still Encouraging “Conversion” Therapy in Latin America’

Cameroon: Rights Abuses in ‘Homosexuality’ Prosecutions


Human Rights Watch has released a 55 page report titled “Guilty by Association: Human Rights Violations in the Enforcement of Cameroon’s Anti-Homosexuality Law,” which documents 10 case studies of arrests and prosecutions under article 347 bis of Cameroon’s penal code, which punishes “sexual relations between persons of the same sex” with up to five years in prison. The report finds that most cases are prosecuted with little or no evidence.

Visit Human Rights Watch to download the report as well as to read a summary of the report.

Ambassador Robert P. Jackson, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Cameroon released this statement to the Cameroonian press as a response to the report.

We commend Cameroon for its ongoing efforts to enhance socio-economic development and modernize its economy, as outlined in the Vision 2035 strategy.  We consider these goals to be fully achievable and well within Cameroon’s reach.  Just as achieving these goals will be a national accomplishment, undertaking them must be a national effort, involving the full participation of every Cameroonian.  It follows that in order for every citizen to make a meaningful contribution, he or she should enjoy the full measure of his or her fundamental freedoms, as guaranteed in the universal Declaration of Human Rights.

As we approach the International Day Against Homophobia (“IDAHO”), we would like to underscore that human rights pertain to all persons, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, or other differences, including sexual preferences.  Under no circumstances in this day and age should hate crimes, violence, or discrimination be socially acceptable or legally permissible.  Imprisoning people on the basis of unproven accusations or text messages violates the freedoms guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  A pluralistic society can only thrive when each member acknowledges and respects the diversity within it. Incidents of torture and physical abuse, as documented by Human Rights Watch, are a sobering reminder of the work that remains to be done if we are to achieve, in practice, what we so often propose, in theory:  “On Est Ensemble.”

An Executive Order to Prevent Discrimination Against LGBT Workers

workplace_onpageRepost from Center for American Progress

By Lee Badgett, Crosby Burns, Nan D. Hunter, Jeff Krehely, Christy Mallory, and Brad Sears

Under federal law it is entirely legal to fire someone based on his or her sexual orientation or gender identity. While many states, municipalities, and corporations have instituted policies that shield LGBT workers from workplace bias, LGBT individuals currently lack adequate legal protections from employment discrimination.

In fact, a majority of workers currently live in states that have not passed laws giving LGBT workers legal protections from workplace discrimination. Only 45 percent of American workers live in a jurisdiction where they are covered by a nondiscrimination policy based on sexual orientation. Only 34 percent of workers live in a jurisdiction where they are covered by a nondiscrimination policy based on gender identity.

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act would bring uniform protections to all American workers under federal law. Short of such a law, however, President Obama has the authority to extend significant protections to the LGBT workforce. Executive action from the president would give real, meaningful, and immediate legal protections to LGBT workers—protections that could mean the difference between being employed and unemployed.

Read more and download the full issue brief here.

Born Free and Equal, New Report from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Born Free and Equal - OHCHRToday the Officer of the High Commissioner for Human Rights released a report on sexual orientation and gender identity in human rights law titled, “Born Free and Equal“. The 60 page booklet outlines the 5 core legal obligation of states to protect the human rights of LGBT persons. Sections include: protecting individuals from homophobic and transphobic violence, prevention of torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of LGBT persons, decriminalizing homosexuality, the prohibition of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and respecting freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.

The report draws on over 18 years of documented violations of the human rights of LGBT people and analysis of state compliance with international human rights law. This report summarizes and advises states on meeting their fundamental human rights obligations. The booklet is also meant to assist human rights defenders in holding states accountable to these obligations.

Visit the OHCHR website to find out more. The report will also be released in Spanish, French, Arabic, Russian and Chinese in the coming months. You can download the English version here.

Uganda: Growing Intimidation, Threats to Civil Society

HRW report Curtailing Criticism: Intimidation and Obstruction of Civil Society in Uganda(Nairobi, August 21, 2012) – Research and advocacy organizations in Uganda that deal with controversial topics are facing increasing harassment by Uganda’s government, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Groups have recently faced forced closure of meetings, threats, harassment, arrest, and punitive bureaucratic interference. The Ugandan government should end its hostile rhetoric and repeated obstructions of nongovernmental organizations, Human Rights Watch said.

The 50-page report, “Curtailing Criticism: Intimidation and Obstruction of Civil Society in Uganda,” documents increasing government attacks on organizations whose focus includes oil revenue transparency, land acquisition compensation, legal and governance reform, and protection of human rights, particularly the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. Both government ministers and district-level officials have engaged in obstruction, Human Rights Watch said. Continue reading ‘Uganda: Growing Intimidation, Threats to Civil Society’


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  • Today's executive order is great! Apply the same principles to US gov't contractors & grantees operating overseas. bit.ly/Ukub6b@global_equality 2 days ago

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