The week in LGBTI news
November 30 - December 6, 2018
ILGA's LGBulleTIn #139 provides the week in LGBTI news of the world to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex community and their allies
Prepared by Daniele Paletta
Researched and edited by Zineb Oulmakki
Egypt: UN experts alarmed by treatment of human rights defenders after visit
The UN Special Rapporteur on the right to housing condemned the forced evictions, housing demolitions, arbitrary arrest, intimidation and reprisals against persons she met during her official country visit to Egypt earlier this year.
According to reports, victims were not provided with any alternative accommodation or compensation.
In an end of mission statement, Leilani Farha had highlighted the extent of the discriminations faced by sexual and gender minorities, as well as people living with HIV/AIDS, in accessing housing, describing the “harrowing and traumatic experiences” faced by our communities.
The reprisals against those persons whom the UN expert met during her visit were also confirmed by Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, Michel Forst, who reported that defenders and lawyers working on the right to housing claimed being followed and photographed by strangers, receiving threats and being summoned for interrogations by police.
“Unless Egypt ensures that human rights defenders and victims of human rights violations can interact with UN human rights envoys without fear of reprisal, it is in our view not ready to host further visits,” the two experts concluded.
More news from Africa
During a public speech, the president of Botswana acknowledged the violations and discriminations faced by people in same-sex relations across the country.
In Nigeria, a student reported being blackmailed and forced to come out to his family following threats.
Latin America and Caribbean
ILGALAC granted legal personality status
The Latin America and Caribbean region of ILGA has been granted legal personality status in Argentina, where its office is headquartered. It is the first time that this regional organisation has succeeded in getting officially registered as a non-profit organisation.
This "is a fundamental step in the direction of consolidating our work and furthering our commitment to the promotion of LGBTI rights in Latin America and the Caribbean," commented ILGALAC Executive Director Pedro Paradiso Sottile. His words were echoed by those of Luz Elena Aranda Arroyo and Darío Arias, the regional co-Secretaries of ILGALAC: "We take (this decision) both as an achievement and an endorsement of our historical commitment to diversity, equality, human rights, and liberation from all forms of discrimination”.
The decision is a significant one for our global community, ILGA co-Secretaries General Ruth Baldacchino and Helen Kennedy pointed out: "At a time when the rights of LGBTI people are under increasing attack in Latin America & the Caribbean, and the right to form an organization is denied to so many of our members in different parts of the world, this step forward is both significant and joyful.”
Read more via ILGALAC (English | español | português)
More news from Latin America and the Caribbean
Referring to constitutional norms and international conventions, the Supreme Court of Chile declared that “that every person who inhabits the State is the holder of the right to marry and to found a family.” “The government cannot ignore this definition when speaking of human rights,” Fundacion Iguales commented, “especially of the injustices that still remain in the regulation of families founded by same-sex couples.”
In the province of Santa Fe, Argentina, a bill has been presented to provide redress for sex workers who are victims of institutional violence.
Canada: gay-straight alliance law discussed in Alberta’s Court of Appeal
A coalition of more than 20 faith-based schools is continuing to challenge a law that lets students participate in gay-straight alliances (GSAs) without the school notifying their parents. Schools already saw their bid rejected in June, and are now appealing that decision at the highest court of the province – arguing that children could be harmed by exposure to “'gender ideology' in the absence of parental oversight.”
Bill 24 says that schools need their students’ consent before they can tell their parents about the participations in GSAs, and is grounded in the need to provide safe and inclusive environments for students. “The No. 1 thing that students want to work with us on is how to come out to their families” explained Pam Krause, CEO of the Calgary Sexual Health Centre. “Nobody is trying to hide anything from anyone. But sometimes it's not that safe. And once in a while the family is not the safe place.”
More news from North America
Though the new trade deal among Canada, Mexico and the United States includes protections for LGBTQ workers, reports have pointed out that final changes in language and footnotes may significantly water down its reach.
The Attorney General of Canada is poised to issue a directive to limit the prosecution of HIV non-disclosure cases.
Spain: report highlights ‘hidden face’ of violence against LGBT communities
At least 629 hate incidents on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity were reported across Spain in 2017, the latest report by the Federación Estatal de Lesbianas, Gais, Trans y Bisexuales (FELGTB) has indicated.
53% of those reporting hate incidents are between 18 and 35 years old, and almost one in every 8 incidents is faced by a person who has not yet turned 18. This data, combined with evidence showing that hate crimes take the shape of bullying and intimidation in 56% of cases, “should be a wake-up call for the education system,” the report reads, “as it is not offering sufficient protection for LGTBI students.”
As between 60 and 80% of incidents are not even reported, the study highlights the need to do more to tackle hate crimes. “We hope that the data and analysis provided by this report will serve to show the Government and political groups in Parliament that there is an urgent need for laws on LGBTI equality to provide tools to reduce an ancestral problem".
More news from Europe
In Greece, four police officers have been charged for inflicting 'fatal bodily harm' on activist Zak Kostopoulos, who died after a lynch mob attacked him. The incident, that took place in September 2018 in the streets of Athens, sparked global protests and outrage.
ILGA-Europe will soon host an interactive webinar on message framing for activists and allies working on intersex human rights, looking into the experience of defenders around Europe.
19 EU member states signed a common paper prepared by the Maltese government, calling for continued efforts within the EU to ensure full protection of LGBTI rights.
Fa’afafine week campaign kicks off in Samoa
A week-long series of initiatives to tackle discrimination, stigmatisation and gender-based violence is taking place in Samoa, organised by the Samoa Fa’afafine Association.
The Fa’afafine Week kicked off with an advocacy float parade in the streets of the capital city of Apia, to mark the 30th anniversary of World AIDS Day, while testing and information booths were created to assist participants.
“The serious issue we face now is the very low rate of HIV/AIDS screening and testing which was only 6% in 2017,” said the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Health. “We should know our status, where we are now with HIV/AIDS, not only in our homes but the community, know how to react and associate with victims and know how to live a happy life.”
During the week, the first collection of fa’afafine stories as told in their own words, Samoan Queer Lives, was launched. “Our stories need to be recorded from a different angle," president of Samoa Fa'afafine Association Alex Su'a pointed out. "We have struggles, but we also have celebrations.”
More news from Oceania
The Senate of Australia agreed to delay consideration of a proposal to repeal religious exemptions to discrimination law to protect LGBT students.
A bill was passed in the Northern Territory, Australia allowing people to see their gender legally reflected in their birth certificates without the abusive precondition of sterilisation.
South Korea: students disciplined for wearing rainbow clothes take school to court
A group of students who were disciplined for wearing clothes in rainbow colours have filed a lawsuit to challenge the decision of their religious school.
On the occasion of International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia earlier this year, eight students chose rainbow attire to attend a worship at the Presbyterian University and Theological Seminary in Seoul. Their aim was to raise awareness of homophobia in religious settings and society at large, but their school revised its bylaws during the investigation of the incident and sanctioned the group, suspending them for a maximum of six months.
The students, then, decided to take it to court. According to their lawyers, “attending class dressed in rainbow clothes is equivalent to the exercise of freedom of expression guaranteed by the Constitution. The school is treating the free expression of sexual minorities differently without any rational reason.”
More news from Asia
The Ministry of Justice of Taiwan said that a draft bill on marriage equality, but in accordance with the results of referendum No. 12, will be presented to the legislature for review before March 1, 2019.
The city of Pariaman, Indonesia has approved a bylaw to fine LGBT people for behaviour that could "disturb public order” or be considered immoral.
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