Posts Tagged 'Amnesty International'

More than 170 International Groups Demand Protection of LGBT Free Expression 

More than 170 international groups demand protection of LGBT free expression

On International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) over 170 organizations from all over the world (including The Council for Global Equality) call on states to protect LGBT freedom of expression and end violence against LGBT individuals and communities.

“Over recent years, we’ve seen a clampdown on LGBT expression in many countries, with repressive legislation being introduced and a culture of violence and intimidation limiting the diversity of LGBT voices in the media,” said Thomas Hughes, Executive Director of ARTICLE 19

“This IDAHOT, hundreds of free expression, human rights, and LGBT groups have joined together to demand that all states protect LGBT expression. Free expression is a fundamental human right and can never be restricted on the basis of sexual or gender identity,” added Hughes.

The Global Call was a joint initiative by ARTICLE 19, Amnesty International, IDAHO Committee and IFEX and is part of a program of work ARTICLE 19 has been involved in to protect LGBT free expression internationally.

  • Read the Global Call and see the wide range of organizations demanding LGBT free expression.
  • Follow #IDAHOTSpeakUp and #NoSilence to join the discussion about LGBT free speech online.
  • Join ARTICLE 19’s social media Thunderclap right now to add your support before IDAHOT on Sat 17 May!
  • Read a joint statement by UN experts to mark IDAHOT 2014

Op-Ed “Demonizing Gays in Africa”

Repost from the New York TimesBy 

As acceptance of gays and lesbians has grown in the United States and Europe, intolerance and persecution has been rising in other parts of the world. African nations are leaders in this cruel and dehumanizing trend.

The latest alarms were triggered by a ban in Nigeria on same-sex relationships that was passed by Parliament in May and signed by President Goodluck Jonathan on Jan. 7. Nigeria is a leading oil producer and Africa’s most populous country, and the ban is considered the most significant setback yet to gay rights on the continent.

Although gay sex has been illegal in Nigeria since British colonial rule, the draconian new law criminalizes homosexuality, banning same-sex marriage and prescribing years in prison to anyone who makes a “public show” of same-sex relationships or participates in gay organizations. Even people who simply support gays are subject to criminal arrest and penalties.

Before the new law was enacted, convictions for gay sex were rare in the southern part of Nigeria and occasional in the mostly Muslim north. But since the law went into effect, as Adam Nossiter has reported in The Times, arrests of gays have multiplied and some people have sought asylum overseas. According to Amnesty International, homosexuality is illegal in 38 of 54 countries in Africa. It carries the death penalty in Mauritania, Sudan and Somalia; in northern Nigeria, where Islamic law is practiced, the penalty can be death by stoning. In Senegal, the press regularly “outs” gays and same-sex relations carry a penalty of five years in prison. Another severe law has been passed by Uganda’s Legislature, but President Yoweri Museveni has not and should not sign it.

Such laws violate commitments made by United Nations members in theUniversal Declaration of Human Rights and other human rights documents.

If these nations cannot do the humane thing, they should at least consider their self-interest. For any leader who values stability, it makes no sense to promote new laws that foment greater hostility among people, like in Nigeria, where there is already ethnic tension.

Even in countries where antigay laws are not enforced, they provide an excuse for abuse — including blackmail and extortion — by police, Amnesty International said. It is unlikely that any of these countries can reach their full economic potential because many foreign entities may find it too risky to invest in such hostile environments. These governments, in abusing their citizens, are moving in dangerous and destructive directions.

Dignity For All: Reactions from LGBT and Human Rights Organizations

Repost from The Office of Public Engagement

Earlier this week, President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton articulated the first-ever U.S. Government strategy to direct all federal agencies engaged abroad to ensure that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons.

These actions represent a continuation of the Obama Administration’s commitment to safety, justice, and equality for LGBT people everywhere. President Obama expressed this commitment earlier this year at the United Nations General Assembly, when he said “No country should deny people their rights because of who they love, which is why we must stand up for the rights of gays and lesbians everywhere.” And since January 2009, Secretary Clinton has strongly and consistently championed a comprehensive human rights agenda — one that specifically includes the protection of LGBT people. Continue reading ‘Dignity For All: Reactions from LGBT and Human Rights Organizations’

Calling on Cameroon government to end the persecution of gays and lesbians and repeal laws that criminalize consensual same-sex relations

Press Release from Amnesty International

The Cameroonian authorities must end the persecution of gays and lesbians and repeal laws that criminalize consensual same-sex relations, five human rights organizations said today in an open letter to the President of Cameroon, Paul Biya.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch joined the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), L’Association pour la Défense des Droits des Homosexuel(le)s (ADEFHO) and Alternatives Cameroun in urging the government to release all individuals detained under the discriminatory law.

“This use of criminal law to punish private sexual activity between consenting adults contravenes international human rights laws that Cameroon has signed and ratified,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International. “We are receiving an increasing number of reports that individuals are being targeted not only because of their sexual behaviour, which is the subject of these discriminatory laws, but because of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. This use of criminal law to punish identities, as well as behaviours, is deeply concerning,” he added.

The organizations also ask that the government take steps to ensure the end of detentions, arrests and harassment of individuals on the grounds of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Continue reading ‘Calling on Cameroon government to end the persecution of gays and lesbians and repeal laws that criminalize consensual same-sex relations’

Amnesty International Urgent Action: Cameroon

Action Alert Amnesty InternationalJean-Claude Roger Mbede has been sentenced to 36 months in prison for homosexuality, a criminal offence under Section 347a of the Cameroonian Penal Code. He is currently serving his sentence at Kondengui central prison in Yaoundé, the capital of Cameroon. He is at risk of physical attack and other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment on account of his real or perceived sexual orientation. Amnesty International considers Jean-Claude Roger Mbede to be a prisoner of conscience, imprisoned solely because of his sexual orientation.

On 2 March Jean-Claude Roger Mbede was arrested by members of the Secretary of State for Defence (SED) security service while meeting a male acquaintance. Prior to the meeting, his acquaintance had showed to the police text messages he had received from Jean-Claude Roger Mbede, and informed them they were due to meet. Jean-Claude Roger Mbede was taken into custody on suspicion of homosexuality at the Gendarmerie du Lac detention centre in Yaoundé. He was held there for seven days before being charged with homosexuality and attempted homosexuality and transferred to Kondengui Central Prison on 9 March. Continue reading ‘Amnesty International Urgent Action: Cameroon’

Hungary: Ruling on Gay March a Human Rights Victory Hu

press release from Council member, Human Rights Watch

Hungary: Ruling on Gay March a Human Rights Victory

Protect Demonstrators from Violence, Guarantee Rights to Expression, Assembly

(New York, February 18, 2011) – The Budapest Metropolitan Court’s decision on February 18, 2011, to allow an extended route for a gay pride march was an important victory for freedom of assembly in Hungary, Human Rights Watch said today. The Budapest police had denied permission to extend the route for the march, planned for June 18.

“The court’s decision was a victory not only for the  community of lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender people, but for the right of all Hungarians to freedom of assembly,” said Boris Dittrich, acting director of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights program at Human Rights Watch.

The Metropolitan Court of Budapest overturned the February 11 decision of the Budapest police to deny an application by Rainbow Mission Foundation, a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) organization, to extend the route of the 2011 Budapest Gay Pride March to the parliament building.

Rainbow Mission Foundation made a formal request to the police in September 2010 to hold the gay pride march in June 2011. Because the police did not deny the request within two days, it was automatically approved under national law. In February, the organizers of the event decided to extend the route to end at Parliament Square, but the police denied their request. The court refuted the police claims that the extended route of the march would unduly obstruct traffic.

In 2008, the police had denied a permit for a gay pride march on similar grounds but withdrew its objections following a letter from 15 LGBT organizations and the rejection by Gábor Demszky, the Budapest mayor at that time, of the claim that the parade would unduly obstruct traffic. Approximately 450 lesbians, gays, and supporters gathered in the city center for the event.

During the march, though, several LGBT people were subjected to physical and verbal abuse, and crowds of counter-demonstrators threw explosive devices, eggs, cobblestones, and bottles at the participants. As a result 10 people were injured and 45 detained.

The right to the freedom of assembly is enshrined in Article 11 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. In Bączkowski and Others v Poland in 2005 and Alekseyev v. Russia in 2010, the European Court of Human Rights ruled unanimously that banning a LGBT pride parade violated the right to freedom of assembly and association.

On March 31, 2010, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopted a set of recommendations (CM/Rec (2010), 5 addressed to member states, including Hungary, on measures to combat discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity. The recommendations are minimum standards. Relevant articles are:

  • Article 14. Member states should take appropriate measures at national, regional and local levels to ensure that the right to freedom of peaceful assembly, as enshrined in Article 11 of the Convention, can be effectively enjoyed, without discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Article 15. Member states should ensure that law enforcement authorities take appropriate measures to protect participants in peaceful demonstrations in favor of the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons from any attempts to unlawfully disrupt or inhibit the effective enjoyment of their right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.
  • Article 16. Member states should take appropriate measures to prevent restrictions on the effective enjoyment of the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly resulting from the abuse of legal or administrative provisions, for example on grounds of public health, public morality and public order.

“Instead of trying to obstruct the fundamental rights to freedom of assembly and expression, the police authorities should fulfill their obligation to protect the demonstrators,” Dittrich said. “The court has done the right thing. The police should follow suit.”

For more Human Rights Watch reporting on LGBT rights, please visit:
http://www.hrw.org/en/category/topic/lgbt-rights

For more information, please contact:
In New York, Boris O. Dittrich (English, Dutch, German): +1-917-535-3863 (mobile)

Additional Information:

Amnesty International

EU Observer


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