Posts Tagged 'IDAHO'

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

International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

This week we join with the worldwide LGBT community in celebrating IDAHOT – the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

Celebrated on May 17 – the 1990 date when the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its International Classification of Diseases – IDAHO is a call to conscience that the rights of LGBT people around the world remain under attack. For many LGBT communities worldwide, celebrating Gay Pride isn’t an option, or comes with great risk to personal safety and security. Being openly LGBT, in fact, can be an invitation to harassment and abuse, and even death. Here in the U.S., IDAHO can bring back the awareness that sexual orientation and gender identity are not only to be celebrated, but also require us to defend our rights. We can use IDAHO to redouble our commitment to ensure respect, fairness, and equality for LGBT people every where.

Resources:

Visit Day Against Homophobia for a list of events by country

Joint Statement by U.S. Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Tom Malinowski and Finnish Ambassador to the United States Ritva Koukku-Rondeon the Occasion of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

Secretary of State, John F. Kerry’s Statement “Commemorating International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

Joint Statement by UN human rights experts, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders in Africa of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media

Statement by the President on the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

Visit Human Rights Watch “African Voices Celebrate LGBT Equality” webpage.

Join ORAM’s Thunderclap campaign for IDAHOT 2014

Read HRC’s Op-Ed “Equality at Home and Abroad and the inaugural issue of “Equality Rising

Protecting and Promoting LGBT Rights in Europe

Uzra Zeya, Acting Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and LaborRemarks by Uzra Zeya
Acting Assistant Secretary
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
ILGA-Europe Annual Conference 2013
Zagreb, Croatia
October 24, 2013

First, thank you very much Evelyne and to ILGA Europe for including me in this panel. I am so glad to be here.

In response to your question, the most important thing to understand about the work of the U.S. government is that protecting and promoting the human rights of all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, is a foreign policy priority. That’s why I am here in Zagreb to deliver this message personally. The fundamental principle that guides our LGBT work is that the human rights of LGBT persons are not different than or separate from the human rights of everyone else. All people deserve to be treated with dignity no matter who they are or who they love.

Looking across the region over 2013, there is a lot to be excited about. Both France and the U.K. have legalized same sex marriage and more countries are taking steps to make sure that LGBT persons can make the choices that work for them and their families. It is also encouraging to see new anti-discrimination and hate crimes legislation specifically including sexual orientation and gender identity as protected categories.

But the United States remains extremely concerned about negative trends in a number of countries. The anti-gay propaganda law in Russia and the proposed law to strip gay parents of their parental rights are alarming. Laws, even when it is unclear how they will be enforced, are incredibly important. They are a statement of a country’s values and they have a teaching effect. Laws that validate discrimination, as we have seen in Russia, can lead to an increase in violence and harassment. This is particularly true when authorities don’t act to protect all of their citizens and when they fail to investigate and prosecute crimes committed by or against particular groups.

I’ve singled out Russia but, as you all know, it is not the only place where there were disturbing events in 2013. We saw too many Pride and IDAHO marches confronted by counter-protestors, or, as just happened in Serbia, canceled altogether because of the threat of violence. Throughout Europe, LGBT persons continue to be harassed and discriminated against in employment, housing, education, and many other areas of public life.

There is clearly work to be done. In the United States, we pursue this work guided by a Presidential Memorandum which lays out five main lines of effort: Decriminalization of LGBT status and conduct, protection of LGBT refugees and asylum seekers, foreign assistance to protect human rights, swift response to violence against LGBT persons, and engaging international organizations to fight LGBT discrimination.

We raise the human rights of LGBT persons in our diplomatic engagement at all levels – from the President, to Secretary Kerry, to our Ambassadors and officers at post and in Washington. Our Ambassadors and officers march proudly in Pride celebrations. Advancing equality for LGBT persons isn’t just the right thing to do; it is fundamental to advancing democracy and human rights. As societies become more inclusive, they become better partners within the global community, joined together by common values and common interests.

The U.S. also knows that change on the ground comes from within. At the State Department, same-sex partners and spouses at overseas missions enjoy the same benefits allowed by law as all our employees’ families. We’ve included a category for same-sex partners in our personnel system. It is now easier for transgender Americans to change the gender on their passport. And we’ve stated unequivocally that we do not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

We regularly engage with and support civil society organizations to ensure our work “does no harm” and supports long-term change. In December 2011, then-Secretary Clinton launched the Global Equality Fund to support civil society advocates working to strengthen the human rights of LGBT persons. The United States has partnered with eight-like minded governments – France, Germany, Norway, the Netherlands, Finland, Iceland, Sweden, and Denmark – as well several foundations to raise and allocate more than $7 million dollars for projects in over 50 countries. The Fund provides emergency legal, medical, and relocation assistance to LGBT individuals and activists; capacity building programs to civil society organizations; and, through our embassy small grants programs, short-term funding to nascent LGBT organizations. This year, we’re excited about the Fund’s focus to increase the capacity of transgender organizations in Europe to document and respond to incidents of violence targeting transgender people.

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International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

International Day Against Homophobia and TransphobiaThis week we join with the worldwide LGBT community in celebrating IDAHO – the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

IDAHO is less known in the U.S. than in many other countries around the world. Here in the U.S., LGBT communities have a greater focus on Gay Pride, a series of parades, concerts and other events, usually held in June, aimed at celebrating the unity and diversity of the LGBT movement. Pride reflects the heightened sense of LGBT community awareness and identification that has grown in the U.S. since the Stonewall Riots in New York City in 1969. It equally celebrates the “coming out” movement that continues to change our country’s understanding of LGBT fairness in such positive ways.

IDAHO carries a different focus. Celebrated on May 17 – the 1990 date when the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its International Classification of Diseases – IDAHO is a call to conscience that the rights of LGBT people around the world remain under attack. For many LGBT communities worldwide, celebrating Gay Pride isn’t an option, or comes with great risk to personal safety and security. Being openly LGBT, in fact, can be an invitation to harassment and abuse, and even death. Here in the U.S., IDAHO can bring back the awareness that sexual orientation and gender identity are not only to be celebrated, but also require us to defend our rights. We can use IDAHO to redouble our commitment to ensure respect, fairness, and equality for LGBT people every where.

We are joined in that support with LGBT community organizations around the world, and we are proud that the White House, the Department of State, and a range of other foreign affairs agencies are supporting the cause of LGBT human and civil rights. We are also proud that many U.S. embassies around the world mark IDAHO and celebrate Pride as a sign of our country’s solidarity and support.

Related Content from our Organizational Council Members:

Amnesty International: Activists worldwide target homophobia in Jamaica, Ukraine and South Africa

Freedom House: International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia 2013

Human Rights Watch: LGBT Rights: The 2013 ‘Hall of Shame’ and Reflecting on the pursuit of equality and non-discrimination on LGBT Day

International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission: IDAHO 2013: Documenting Violence Against LBT People in Asia

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.”

International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

IDAHO is celebrated worldwide to commemorate the date, May 17, 1990, when homosexuality was removed from the International Classification of Diseases of the World Health Organization.

The Council for Global Equality is commemorating this day with the release of our NGO guide – Accessing U.S. Embassies: A Guide for LGBT Human Rights Defenders.

U.S. State Department: International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham ClintonPress Release: U.S. Department of State

WASHINGTON, DC – In every part of the world, men and women are persecuted and attacked because of who they are or whom they love. Homophobia, transphobia and the brutal hostility associated with them are often rooted in a lack of understanding of what it actually means to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT). So to combat this terrible scourge and break the cycle of fear and violence, we must work together to improve education and support those who stand up against laws that criminalize love and promote hate. As we mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia this May 17, let us resolve to redouble our efforts.

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am proud to reaffirm our support for LGBT communities at home and abroad, and to call for an end to discrimination and mistreatment of LGBT persons wherever it occurs. Whether by supporting LGBT advocates marching in Belgrade, leading the effort at the United Nations to affirm the human rights of LGBT persons, or condemning a vile law under consideration in Uganda, we are committed to our friends and allies in every region of the world who are fighting for equality and justice. These are not Western concepts; these are universal human rights.

Despite these gains and hard work, there is more to do to turn the tide of inequality and discrimination against the LGBT community. If you are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, know that the United States stands with you and we are unwavering in our commitment to ending this cycle of hate.

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UN Releases Video and Pamphlet to Mark the International Day Against Homophobia

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the highest human rights official in the UN system, released a video and a pamphlet last week decrying violence and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals.  The video and pamphlet were released for use at events worldwide on May 17, the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO).  IDAHO marks the date in 1990 when the World Health Organization (WHO) removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders.  See a list of IDAHO events and campaigns here.

The UN video highlights LGBT hate crimes in the United States, Brazil, Honduras and South Africa, stressing that such incidents are not isolated but part of a global pattern of targeted violence. “Ultimately, homophobia and transphobia are no different to sexism, misogyny, racism or xenophobia”, the High Commissioner notes, “but whereas these last forms of prejudice are universally condemned by Governments, homophobia and transphobia are too often overlooked.”

The UN pamphlet is titled The United Nations Speaks Out: Tackling Discrimination on Grounds of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and can be used as a public information resource.  It clarifies that LGBT rights are not special rights but are part and parcel of the fundamental human rights we all enjoy.  As UN Secretary General Ban-Ki-moon stated in January, “we must reject persecution of people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, who may be arrested, detained or executed for being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. I understand that sexual orientation and gender identity raise sensitive cultural issues.  But cultural practice cannot justify any violation of human rights. When our fellow humans are persecuted because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, we must speak out. Human rights are human rights everywhere, for everyone.”

To download the pamphlet:

The pamphlet is available as a pdf file from the OHCHR website (go to http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Discrimination/Pages/LGBT.aspx and look for the link “brochure” in the right-hand column).

To view or download the High Commissioner’s video:

The video is in English, with French and Spanish sub-titled versions.  The video and scripts are available to view or download from the following platforms:

  • Facebook: “United Nations Human Rights”

News from the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia 2010 (IDAHO).

From our friends at IDAHO

Once again, the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia will be marked by hundreds of events across all continents and will witness some historic initiatives.

Projects to join, projects to watch out for – a glimpse of diversity!

In Turkey, LGBT and Human Rights organizations have put together an impressive week-long program, including Pride marches in different cities and an international congress on May 15/16, that will witness the presence of several European MPs, members of the LGBT intergroup, several Ambassadors and representatives of the international Human Rights community. The renowned queer feminist writer and philosopher Judith Butler will be holding a conference as part of the program. Find all the details on www.antihomofobi.org

This year again, Cambodia Pride will mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia with a vast programme of activities. Alongside the Pride march itself, Cambodia Pride is organising an impressive series of events between the 10th and the 17th of May to celebrate IDAHO. Check the detailed programme on http://www.phnompenhpride.blogspot.com/

Havana, the brand new site dedicated to the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia in Israel, is born. Check out all that is happening around the country and stay in touch with the IDAHO Israel team at http://www.havana.org.il/

More than 150 events mark IDAHO across France, including a national conference on Religions, Homophobia and Transphobia, with high level representatives of the Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Muslim faiths, and the launch of a National Campaign against Homophobia in all secondary schools across the country. Check out the Campaign website for more info on this.

In Romania, the LGBT festival GayFest starts right on 17th of May and will be placed under the sign of IDAHO
The programme in in English and in Romanian at www.gay-fest.ro

In Kenya, this year GALCK will mark the day once more by reaching out to the public to try to change misconceptions and misrepresentations of LGBT people. As part of the program Galck member organisations will be presenting dances and acting a play based on the Ugandan Law. IDAHO shall also be marked in at least two other cities in Kenya, including Nakuru and Kisumu.

In Russia, 17 May 2010 will be the day GayRussia applies officially to the Mayor of Moscow for permission to organise the Jubelee 5th Moscow Pride on 29 May. GayRussia will also celebrate its 5th anniversary on 17 May.

At the same time, GayRussia will support organisations in Belarus for the Slavic Pride that is planned to take place for IDAHO in Minsk

Still in Russia, . organisations who launched last year the Rainbow Flashmob initiative have this year expanded their initiative to the Czeck Republic and various cities across Germany and invite more cities and countries to join in. Check participating cities on the RainbowFlash 2010 Google Map. More info to join this initiative on the Flashmob webite

In Germany still, the anti-homophobia project Maneo is once more gearing up for IDAHO with a special edition of its traditional Kiss-in,  this year as part of the Great Global Kiss-in :

In at least 20 different cities in 11 countries, groups will come together to peacefully celebrate the freedom to love under the “Great Global Kiss-in” initiative. Individuals all over the world can join into this project by sending a videokiss message on gays.com//idaho or to kissin@idaholophobia.org

In the UK, an impressive programme of action is once again on the IDAHO menu. Check out all the details on http://idahomophobia.org/wp/?p=1948&lang=en

This year ILGA Europe will mark the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia by organising a public event right in the heart of the EU quarter in Brussels. The aim of the ‘Rainbow Buzz’ action is to raise awareness of the rights of LGBT people and promote objectives to advance the rights of LGBT people in Europe. ILGA Europe is also preparing an updated and amended edition of the Rainbow Europe maps, including a new ‘European Rainbow County Index’

In Ukraine, IDAHO will be marked by the Queer Week Festival. The goal is to create positive visibility for LGBTQ people and celebrate diversity. There will be a lot of different activities, such as photo exhibits and a film festival called “Different love. For more details about the Queer Week Festival, see the programme on www.insight-ukraine.org.ua.

More information is coming in every minute. Watch out for updates and check out www.idahomophobia.org for details.


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