Monthly Archives: May 2009

Rama Yade announces a special FUND to support LGBTI movements worldwide

 

 

 

By Ashok DEB

On the morning of 15th May, during her keynote speech of the World Congress on Human Rights,Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity,which was held all day long in the French National Assembly , Rama Yade,the Secretary of State for human rights, announced the creation of a ” collection fund”  for the assistance of NGO’s fighting for the LGBTI movement worldwide.This fund will allow to combine both public financial contributions (taxes), along with private donations, dedicated specifically to the sole objective of  supporting the  NGOs (NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATION) working on the welfare issues of same-sex rights.

Rama Yade declared”  You,the defenders of human rights in civil society,play a leading role and are often very badly exposed to atrocities in this respect.You have made a long journey to be among us .

Sometimes you come from country where your fight is not recognized or where the authorities wish to reduce your voice to  silence.

It is nevertheless thanks to your fight in everyday life, often in very difficult, even dangerous conditions for you and  your close relations,that the real changes can happen. For that reason, I am particularly anxious to honour you.

I hope that this Congress, as the declaration of last December 18th when we resolved to succeed together,is a reason for you to hope.

Today we bring to you our renewed support and the commitment to conquer the  new spaces of freedom and justice.”

The video of this speech is on the site of the French Foreign Ministry.

 Robert Badinteras ended his speech by reminding the necessity of accompanying the fight against homophobia and transphobia by open reception of those sexual minorities asking for the asylum.

Some glimpses of the World Congress on Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity can be visualised on this video brought to you by Yagg.com an online News Portal on LGBTI issues.The video is in French but relevant English subtitles have been provided for the viewer’s assistance.

 

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Yogyakarta Principles

The Yogyakarta Principles

In 2006, in response to well-documented patterns of abuse, a distinguished group of international human rights experts met in Yogyakarta, Indonesia to outline a set of international principles relating to sexual orientation and gender identity. The result was the Yogyakarta Principles: a universal guide to human rights which affirm binding international legal standards with which all States must comply. They promise a different future where all people born free and equal in dignity and rights can fulfil that precious birthright.

The Principles are presented here in all six United Nations languages.

http://www.yogyakartaprinciples.org

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Abdellah Taïa: Openly Gay Moroccan Writer Takes on Homophobia in the Muslim World

 

 

 

 

       Wednesday, May 27, 2009

 

PARIS – A soft-spoken slip of a young man, Abdellah Taia hardly looks the part of an iconoclast. But as Morocco’s first high-profile, openly gay man, Taia has made it his mission to win acceptance for homosexuals throughout the Muslim world.

Taia has defied Moroccan society’s don’t-ask, don’t-tell attitude toward homosexuality – and prison sentences that are still on the books in the North African kingdom – to write five autobiographical novels about growing up poor and gay in the northern coastal city of Sale.

The novels, peppered with sexually explicit passages, have catapulted him to fame in his native country and made him the de-facto poster child of its budding gay rights movement.

His work has sparked harsh criticism. Taia said some outraged critics have called on him to renounce Moroccan citizenship so as “not to bring shame” on the country.

It’s also alienated him from his parents and eight siblings, who figure extensively in the books and complain that Taia has publicly humiliated them.

But the 35-year-old author insists he’s never been cowed by fallout from his work.

“When I write, I feel a sense of urgency, as if my life depended on it,” Taia said in an interview in Paris, where he has lived for almost a decade. “When I first started writing, it never occurred to me to invent some fictional character and talk about made-up things.”

His latest novel, “L’armee du Salut,” or “Salvation Army,” focuses on his decision to move to Europe. An English translation recently came out in the United States, with an introduction by author Edmund White.

Though Taia immigrated legally – he was awarded a scholarship to study in Switzerland – his experiences in Geneva paralleled those of thousands Moroccans living in Europe without papers.

After his older Swiss lover who was supposed to pick him up at the Geneva airport never shows up, a penniless Taia seeks refuge at the Salvation Army, where he lives among illegal immigrants from throughout the developing world.

In the book, he also talks about his blooming sexuality, describing teenage trysts in the back of dark movie theatres and flings with European tourists looking for more than sun on their Moroccan holidays.

Like nearly all Arab countries, Morocco considers homosexual relations a crime, punishable by fines and prison sentences of six months to three years. Such penalties are rarely applied, though, and in practice Morocco has a long history of leniency toward homosexuality and other practices forbidden by Islam.

Asked whether he sees himself as courageous, Taia said, “The most difficult thing was to work up the courage to pick up the pen and write for the first time.”

He grew up with a family of 11 sharing a two-room house. His father, a petty civil servant, and a his mother, an illiterate housewife, emphasized their children’s education, sending five to college.

That was where Taia began to write. Surrounded at Rabat University by children of Morocco’s French-speaking elite, he began to keep a diary to improve his written French.

His journals now serve as the foundation of his novels, which are written in French and have been translated into seven languages, including Arabic and now English.

NOTE: “Salvation Army” is the 2006’s book by Abdellah Taïa.

His last book is “Une mélancolie arabe” (2008)

Abdellah Taïa Website

Salvation Army on Amazon

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Official IDAHO Report – 2009

May 24, 2009 

 

 

Forwarded by Peter Tatchell on behalf of IDAHO

Official IDAHO Report – 2009

17 May 2009 – International Day against HOMOPHOBIA & TRANSPHOBIA

MEDIA RELEASE

The fifth International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, an initiative launched on May 17th 2005 by activist Louis-Georges Tin, saw an amazing outburst of activities around the world. The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) Committee reports on its global site www.idahomophobia.org.

“Actions were reported in more then 50 countries”, said Joel Bedos, coordinator of the IDAHO Committee, the NGO promoting the Day worldwide. “This shows just how strong the global movement is.”

ILGA, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, a world-wide network of national and local groups with more than 700 member organisations from every continent and representing 110 countries, has been involved in the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia with the IDAHO Committee since it was launched in 2005.

“We chose this Day,” say Gloria Careaga and Renato Sabbadini, ILGA’s Co-Secretaries General, “to launch the third edition of the World Report on State Sponsored Homophobia. With this report ILGA wants to name and shame the States which at the end of the first decade of the 21st century still treat their LGBTI citizens like lesser persons, unworthy of consideration.

“The actions undertaken by activists and the majority of our members all around the world on the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia have been an important occasion to remind civil societies and Governments of the situation of lesbians and gays in 80 countries in the world, where homosexuality is considered a crime and of the fact that in 5 of them, i.e. Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Mauritania and Yemen, homosexuals risk the death penalty. ILGA is now working on a State sponsored transphobia report, which we hope to publish by November this year.”

Nicolai Alexeyev, organiser of Slavic Pride in Moscow, speaking after his release from a Russian jail said, “We launched the first Moscow pride and the first IDAHO international conference in 2006 with Louis-Georges Tin, who was with us, on the streets confronting homophobic attacks.

“Since then, we have always been together, working for equal rights in the world. IDAHO breaks down isolation, makes people feel stronger, and sends a powerful signal to all homophobes and transphobes around the world that they are facing not just a handful of activists but millions of people across the globe.”

This ambition to get activists in different countries together is Joel Bedos’ main driving force.

“This year we have got a really large alliance of major regional and international NGOs, including ILGA’s Trans secretariat of course, together to launch a large international campaign against Transphobia. The appeal has been signed by 300 organizations in more than 75 countries, 3 Nobel Prize winners and many international institutions and celebrities and we are now launching it on our websites for citizens all over the world to join in with.”

Most amazingly, this campaign already has led France to announce an historic decision to become the first country in the world to stop classifying Trans people as ‘mentally disordered’ as the World Health Organisation’s guidelines still demand. Also, on May 15th, the Dutch parliament organised a conference on LGBTI rights, celebrating IDAHO, and the Dutch minister of foreign affairs, Maxime Verhagen announced that the Government will change the law that still requires transgender people to undergo irreversible surgery before granting them a new identification document. He acknowledged that the current law violates principle 18 of the Yogyakarta principle: the right to be protected from medical abuses.

The report, presented on Saturday 16 May at the Axel hotel in Barcelona with the help of Coordinadora Gai Lesbiana and former ILGA co-Secretary General Jordi Petit, was prepared by Daniel Ottosson. The report and a map showing the results of the study at a glance can be accessed on www.ilga.org.

“Such an international campaign is one of the added values of the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia, and we are glad that the IDAHO Committee has provided the initial impulse. It has galvanised us into action and helped us to network with other Trans organisations in other countries. We are definitely stronger together” says Liesl Theron from Gender DynamiX, a South African Human Rights organization promoting freedom of expression of gender identity in Africa.

The IDAHO committee hopes that the Campaign against Transphobia will be just as successful as the one that it launched back in 2006 when an international petition calling “for a universal decriminalisation of homosexuality” drew incredible support from several Nobel prize winners, many high profile politicians, actors, intellectuals, etc, and contributed to the French government taking the initiative that resulted in last year UN Statement on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity -a historical achievement indeed.

On this year’s International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia, the French, Dutch and Norwegian governments organised a World Congress to follow up on this Statement, with a very active participation of the IDAHO Committee along other civil society actors. This congress got many activists from all over the world to meet and strategise the future.

Getting people around the globe together is indeed a shared passion. Kenneth Tan, founder of the first social gay and lesbian network Gays.com, is a happy man: “The community based video that we did this year in partnership with the IDAHO Committee has already been watched by 200,000 people. The idea was to get individuals from a lot of different countries to come out and say they were proud. The result is exactly what the Day means: a celebration of both diversity, because we are all unique, and unity, because there is something that links us all together.”

Diversity is certainly the motto: In mainland China, a bike rally celebrated the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, while in Hong Kong, the IDAHO Coalition protested against homophobia in front of the Government Headquarters. Says Connie Chan, who has been coordinating actions in Hong Kong for many years: “The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia Committee and participating organisations around the world have given us inspiration and momentum for action.”

Derek Lennard, IDAHO-UK Coordinator said “In the UK we now have over 100 events and initiatives to mark IDAHO -in 2005 we had five. It is very exciting to see this network get bigger and bigger and to see the very broad support it now receives in the UK”.

While marchers took it to the streets in all major Turkish cities, UK police stations flew the rainbow flag. While in Cameroon, brave activists faced the hostile crowd on a radio programme, a Church service to mark IDAHO was held in Belfast’s oldest church. Iran’s gay students wrote an open letter to the Students’ Union, and in Singapore, the Pink Dot festival was the first-ever event to speak openly about gay and lesbian rights.

The Council of the EU, in a historic statement published on May 17th, declared “Discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity is incompatible with the basic principles on which the UE is founded”. In a surprisingly progressive move, this Statement was supported by countries outside the EU such as Turkey and Ukraine.

“Everywhere we see things moving. Even in Russia where the IDAHO Committee co-organised the first Pride in 2006, things will change. This is why we created this Day in 2005 and we are so happy to see all these actions take place around the globe. We hope that the sum of all these individual energies will increasingly be visible to the world. Because we are so many and so full of hope and energy, that we can really change the world,” says Louis-Georges Tin.

Press contact

Louis-Georges Tin

IDAHO Committee

lgtin@idahomophobia.org

Protests on the 2009 International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia – 17 May

A FEW EXAMPLES…

CHINA & HONG KONG · “Love is not a crime, hate is not a family value” chanted IDAHO coalition marchers as they headed to the Governments Headquarters demanding equal rights for LGBT people.

They called for legislation outlawing discrimination based on sexual orientation and for same-sex couples to be included in the law on domestic violence. Spokesperson Connie Chan reports: “Protesters laid down in a symbolic die-in action to signal their disappointment at the treatment they get from the Hong Kong authorities.”

In the meantime in Beijing, organisations Common Language and Aibai Culture and Education Center organised “Rainbow in Motion”, the Beijing Multi-campus Bike Ride to celebrate gay pride, raise awareness of LGBT rights and introduce IDAHO to the LGBT community and general public of mainland China.

FRANCE · In France, hundreds of events where organised all over the country, where IDAHO enjoys a growing visibility. In Paris, Trans People from all over the world joined French Trans activists and LGBT organisations to “Shout Out against Transphobia”. On that day, the Health minister announced that France would be the first country to officially stop applying WHO classification of Trans People as “mentally disordered”. 27 cities organised debates, film screenings, parties, exhibitions and other political and cultural events, including a National Conference on Transgender and Transexual issues at the French Parliament.

TURKEY · Hundreds of people marched in Ankara and other major cities in the country for LGBT rights. Homophobia and Transphobia have risen dramatically over the last year with dozens of people brutally murdered and police harassment is growing.

ILGA · The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association published on IDAHO the third edition of its report on State Sponsored Homophobia.

The report surveys legislations criminalising consensual sexual acts between persons of the same sex in private over the age of consent in all countries in the World. With this report ILGA wants to name and shame the States which at the end of the first decade of the 21st century still treat their LGBTI citizens like lesser persons, unworthy of consideration.

UK · Amongst many initiatives across the country, dozens of police stations raised a gay rights banner to mark a day of action against homophobia. The organisations raising the rainbow flag high were taking part in The Lesbian and Gay Foundation’s “Flying the Flag” campaign. In London, an IDAHO party launched Day in Hand community project. This campaign’s aim is to inspire and support same-sex couples who want to hold their partner’s hand in public.
www.adayinhand.com

EUROPEAN UNION · To mark IDAHO, the European Union issued a strong statement calling for renewed mobilisation against homophobia and transphobia.

The Statement, warning that “discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation and gender identity is incompatible with the basic principles on which the UE is founded”, was also supported by other States, including Turkey and Ukraine, two countries who did not sign up to the UN Statement last December supported by now 67 countries and calling States to fights discrimination on these grounds.
www.consilium.europa.eu

SINGAPORE · IDAHO 2009 went down in History as the Pink Dot festival united a 2500-strong crowd celebrating the freedom to love. The organisers of the event, pinkdot.sg, say the event was held to commemorate love in all forms and between people of every orientation. The city-state still has a ban on homosexual sex that has been in force since its colonial days under the British. According to Jack Soh of pinkdot.sg, “It was not a protest or a political rally. The event was for Singaporeans in general – to affirm our respect for diversity and the freedom to love, regardless of sexual orientation.” http://www.pinkdot.sg

TRANSPHOBIA · 300 organisations from 75 countries, 3 Nobel Prize winners and intellectuals, artists, politicians from many countries ,supported the International Appeal against Transphobia and for the Respect of Gender Identity launched by a group of large regional and international Human Rights and LGBT Rights organisations. The Appeal was launched on the eve of IDAHO and is now opened to signatures by the public.

A FEW MORE EXAMPLES…

INTERNATIONAL · To coincide with IDAHO, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosted the World Congress on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. This congress originated from a joint decision by the French, Dutch and Norwegian governments. Its aim was to reflect on future strategies to take the LGBT agenda forward within the UN. Ministers from 15 countries, including 3 African countries, and more than 80 representatives from NGOs from all World regions debated during the day-long congress to elaborate recommendations for all stakeholders.

RUSSIA · Once again Gayrussia tried to organise a Pride march in Moscow on IDAHO. This year, the date coincided with the Eurovision song contest in the Russian capital, which drew increased media attention on the event. In spite of much public attention and support, Moscow authorities cracked down on demonstrators and arrested many members of the group. Gayrussia founder Nicolai Alexeyev promised to hold on to the slogan “Gay Equality; No Compromise” and plans actions for IDAHO 2010.

More information on www.idahomophobia.org

BACKGROUND to IDAHO

In August 2004, Louis-Georges Tin, a French university lecturer, campaigner for Black and LGBT Rights, and chief editor of the Dictionary of Homophobia launched an appeal for a universal recognition of the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO). He proposed that this day be fixed on May 17th, to commemorate the World Health Organisation decision to remove homosexuality from the list of mental disorders.

By May 17th 2005, as a result of a year long campaigning effort, 24000 people worldwide and reputed international organisations like ILGA, IGLHRC, the World Congress of LGBT Jews, the Coalition of African lesbians, to name but a few, had signed the IDAHO appeal. In May 2005 already, IDAHO saw some action take place in more than 40 countries in the world. The first LGBT events ever were organised in Congo, China, Bulgaria. Josepp Borrell, President of the European Parliament made a statement supporting the IDAHO and invited Tin to the conference the EU Parliament organised for IDAHO 2006.

By that time a new campaign had been launched by the IDAHO Committee calling “for a universal decriminalisation of homosexuality” and on May 17th 2006 it had attracted support from several Nobel Prize winners (Desmond Tutu, Amartya Sen, Elfriede Jelinek, Dario Fo, José Saramago), artists (Merryl Streep, Cindy Lauper, Elton John, David Bowie), intellectuals (Noam Chomsky, Judith Butler, Bernard-Henri Lévy), NGOs (ILGA, FIDH), politicians, etc…

In July 2006, the Montreal Conference on LGBT Human Rights, organised in the wake of the Outgames, included in its final declaration a strong recommendation to all Governments to recognise May 17th as the International Day against Homophobia.

For IDAHO 2007, the IDAHO committee and Gayrussia co-organised the first GayPride in Moscow, preceded by an International IDAHO conference that brought together many activist, organisations and politicians from around Europe and North America.

At that time, IDAHO had been officially recognised by the EU Parliament, Belgium, the UK and Mexico and organisations in more than 50 countries in the world celebrated IDAHO. Costa Rica, the Netherlands and Luxemburg soon joined the list of countries officially recognising the Day.

On IDAHO 2008, as a result of the actions coordinated by the IDAHO committee, the French Government also recognised IDAHO. Rama Yade, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Human Rights, announced France’s intention to launch a UN initiative towards the universal decriminalisation of homosexuality.

During the second semester, Civil Society organisations, including the IDAHO committee, ILGA, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, ARC international, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission and many other groups from the global South and East worked towards this initiative that eventually resulted in the December 2008 UN Statement read at the General Assembly by Argentina and supported by now 67 countries. This UN Statement was one of the elements in a long strategy of LGBT advocacy at the UN, a strategy that was discussed on IDAHO 2009 at the World Congress against Homophobia and Transphobia, that the IDAHO committee, as part of a central working group, helped shaping.

ENDS

UPLOAD MEDIA BRIEFING IDAHO 2009

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Where the world comes together……..HIMADRI

 

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Few glimpses of World Congress ’09 on Human Rights,Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity through the photographic lenses of HIMADRI, one of the attending delegates from Bangladesh.

Find the photos here:

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=126744&id=615927109&l=7eef6616e2

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Europe: Not a safe haven for Trans Individuals

 Compiled by Ashok DEB

These facts are based on the speech by Justus Eisfeld delivered at the World Conferrence of Human Rights,Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity,held in Paris on 15th May ’09 and a study written by him for Fundamental Rights Agency of EU on the issue of Transphobia.

Transphobhia in Europe Union does not seem to be any better compared to any other civilised nations.The European Transphobia can be broadly categorised in three distinct parameters.

1.Transphobia can be an act of violence and aggression on Trans individuals only because of their gender identity.

 2.Transphobia can take form of act of exclusion, where the oppurtuanities towards a better life is curtailed down

3.Transphobia can also take up a subtle but non-extinct form as acts of PASSIVE exclusion,where officially the trans rights are upheld but in reality the Trans individuals are discriminated upon.

ACTS OF VIOLENCE:

 UK: 73% of the Trans individuals have experienced hate comments,sexual or physical abuses.These indivuals continue to live under a fear psychosis of getting manhandled again in future.

Among those who called upon the assistance of police , a substatial 20% of them were not treated properly,while a whopping one third of the Trans population expressed fear of non-affirmative actions by law enforcers in similar circumstances.

Sweeden: 59% of the Trans Individuals fear harassment and violence on daily basis.

Trans individuals have been murdered in Portugal,Netherlands,France Italy as an act of hate crime.Scores of such atrocities and murders have gone UNREPORTED,as the European nations fails to keep statistical documentations on such events.

A joint Sweedish and British study has indicated that social rejection and anti-pathy has driven one third of European Trans individuals towards attempting SUICIDE.

ACTS OF EXCLUSION:

UK:  45% of the Trans people have reported Breakdown in their family relationship after COMING OUT and revealing their gender identity.

Scotland:46% of the Trans people have reported abusive domestic relationship by their families or partners.

HEALTHCARE:

80% of the people in Transgender Europe Study reported to have to paid for their own medical treatment which includes the surgeries and hormonal treatment required to live as a gender of their choice.

UK: 29% of the Trans people have reported to be frowned upon in Hospitals when they arriveded for treatment for medical issues those were not related to their gender identity.

Sweeden: 12% of the Trans people are reported to be in poor health, twice the percentage of the average poplulation.

Hungary: Trans indivuals are forced to bribe the officials for the surgeries and Hormonal treatment they require and studies on Transphobia in Hungary indicates that safe treament for Trans people is highly unlikely in this state.

 UK: Trans indivuals stumbled upon doctors who either refused to assist them or were unaware about such possibilities.Only a meagre 20% of the physicians could assist them with medication or necessary informations.

Intersex people are being regularly subjected to cosmetic surgeries after their birth without their CONSENT and without any proper knowledge of negative impact of these treatment in their later life.

EMPLOYEMENT and EDUCATION:

European Union: 11 members of the EU have not tabled the anti-discrimination laws in the EU legislations.

Spain: 50% of the Trans indivuals are UNEMPLOYED while 17% of them are involved in illegal and dangerous activities in order to survive.

Bulgaria: Excludes Trans indivuals from the military.

UK: 30% of the indivuals of Trans community in school were bullied not only by the students but also by the academic peers.

Even the countries like France, Norway and Netherlands who are aggressively campaigning for the recognition of the same-sex relationships and safety of the Homosexuals worldwide, requires extensive surgeries and psycho-therapie to those who wish to change their gender on the official documents and passports.

90% of the European countries force Transpeople to undergo some forms of surgeries,hormonal treatments and body modification before they could be formally allowed a change of gender.

The above datas and statistics highly suggests that its time for the European nations to take a closer re-look about the plight of trans community and adopt a more viable approach of assimilating them in the mainstream progressive society.

 

 

 

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Paris Queer Invasion 15th May’09

More photos here:

http://lgbtbangladesh.wordpress.com/media/photos/paris-under-queer-invasion-on-15-may-09/

 

 

 

 

 

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Al-Qaeda using rape to humilate young recruits as suicide bombers

 PinkNews

http://www.pinknews.co.uk/news/articles/2005-11023.htmlby

Staff Writer, PinkNews.co.uk


Islamic terrorists are raping young men in order to drive them into suicide bombings.
The Sun quotes Algerian militant Abu Baçir El Assimi: “The sexual act on young recruits aged between 16 to 19 was a means to urge them to commit suicide operations.” The paper claims that “intense social stigma and fear of more gay sex attacks leaves Muslims prepared to die.”

Rape and homosexual acts are punishable by death under Sharia law. A suspected terrorist bomber killed in an attempted attack on a security installation in the Tizi Ouzou province of Algeria last month may have been raped, an autopsy revealed. News source Ennahar Online said there was “a large tear in the anus of the terrorist, which confirms the sexual abuse. In addition, semen analysis is underway to determine the perpetrator.

“The young terrorist subject of sexual abuse, was aged 22, from Diar El Djemaâ, ElHarrach. He would have joined terrorist groups in March 2008. He was a candidate to execute a suicide operation in the region of Boumerdes.” The al-Qaeda terrorist movement is a loose association spread across nations from Algeria to Iraq. Terrorists have been trained in camps in Sudan and Afghanistan.

 

Cells operating in the US and western Europe have claimed responsibility for a range of suicide attacks including the attacks on New York and Washington DC on September 11th 2001. Al-Qaeda has also been linked to an insurgency in Algeria. Characteristic al-Qaeda techniques include suicide attacks and simultaneous bombings of different targets.

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Filed under International - Persecution of Homosexuals, Islam and Homosexuality

Islam recognises Homosexuality

by Abdul Khalik, The Jakarta Post

Homosexuals and homosexuality are natural and created by God, thus permissible within Islam, a discussion concluded here Thursday. Moderate Muslim scholars said there were no reasons to reject homosexuals under Islam, and that the condemnation of homosexuals and homosexuality by mainstream ulema and many other Muslims was based on narrow-minded interpretations of Islamic teachings.

Siti Musdah Mulia of the Indonesia Conference of Religions and Peace cited the Koran’s al-Hujurat (49:3) that one of the blessings for human beings was that all men and women are equal, regardless of ethnicity, wealth, social positions or even sexual orientation.

“There is no difference between lesbians and nonlesbians. In the eyes of God, people are valued based on their piety,” she told the discussion organized by nongovernmental organization Arus Pelangi. “And talking about piety is God’s prerogative to judge,” she added. “The essence of the religion (Islam) is to humanize humans, respect and dignify them.”

 

 

Musdah said homosexuality was from God and should be considered natural, adding it was not pushed only by passion. Mata Air magazine managing editor Soffa Ihsan said Islam’s acknowledgement of heterogeneity should also include homosexuality. He said Muslims needed to continue to embrace ijtihad (the process of making a legal decision by independent interpretation of the Koran and the Sunnah) to avoid being stuck in the old paradigm without developing open-minded interpretations. Another speaker at the discussion, Nurofiah of the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), said the dominant notion of heterogeneity was a social construction, leading to the banning of homosexuality by the majority.

“Like gender bias or patriarchy, heterogeneity bias is socially constructed. It would be totally different if the ruling group was homosexuals,” she said. Other speakers said the magnificence of Islam was that it could be blended and integrated into local culture. “In fact, Indonesia’s culture has accepted homosexuality. The homosexual group in Bugis-Makassar tradition called Bissu is respected and given a high position in the kingdom. Also, we know that in Ponorogo (East Java) there has been acknowledgement of homosexuality,” Arus Pelangi head Rido Triawan said.

Condemnation of homosexuality was voiced by two conservative Muslim groups, the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) and Hizbut Thahir Indonesia (HTI). “It’s a sin. We will not consider homosexuals an enemy, but we will make them aware that what they are doing is wrong,” MUI deputy chairman Amir Syarifuddin said. Rokhmat, of the hardline HTI, several times asked homosexual participants in attendance to repent and force themselves to gradually return to the right path.

 

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UN “advises favourable consideration” for gay Iraqi asylum seekers

 


5 May 2009 – A drop off in levels of violence in some parts of Iraq has allowed the United Nations refugee agency to revise its guidelines on eligibility for those seeking asylum.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) previously advised that all Iraqis from the central and southern governorates be considered refugees.

In its latest recommendations, the agency believes that the international protection needs for those originating from Al-Anbar, encompassing much of the country’s western territory, and the south should be assessed on individual merit.

However, UNHCR advises favourable consideration for people belonging to specific groups from these areas which have been identified as at risk, including members of religious and ethnic minorities; Iraqis perceived as opposing armed groups or political factions; Iraqis affiliated with the multinational forces or foreign companies; media workers; UN and non-governmental organization (NGO) workers; human rights activists; and homosexuals.

The agency also stressed that ongoing violence, conflict and human rights violations in most of the central governorates of Baghdad, Diyala, Kirkuk, Ninewa and Salah Al-Din places asylum-seekers from these areas in continued need for international protection.

UNHCR estimates that hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have sought refuge in neighbouring countries, mainly in Syria and Jordan but also in Lebanon, Egypt and others, with over 40,000 asylum applications made in industrialized countries last year alone.

The agency stressed that improvement in the situation in Iraq is not yet sufficient enough to promote or encourage massive returns and it recommended that refugees already benefiting from international protection should retain their status.

In a related development, an Iraqi ministry has pledged $30 million for projects aimed at improving the lives of children in rural marshland areas.

With a 34 per cent illiteracy rate among women living in marshlands, compared to 24 per cent nationally, and school enrolment at least 30 per cent lower than in urban areas, and around 80 per cent of households not connected to the general water network, the marshlands has some of the worst development indicators in Iraq.

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Nepali TG Beauty Queens on Front Page of the Prestigious Magazine VOW Nepal

 

Nepali TG beauty queens appears on front page of the most prestigious magazine called VOW Nepal.
Sent by Sunil Pant 

We are no different!
Transgender individuals share their stories

According to various studies, approximately eight to 10 percent of the population of the world belong to LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersexual) group, of which one percent is said to be transgender. Born as one gender but having attributes of the other may seem confusing for many, but transgenders claim that they are as normal as any other being. However, that is hardly how the rest of the world views them. They are ostracised and made fun of for being different; by society at large. Despite the Supreme Court�s 2007 ruling which legally recognises them, they continue to live in the shadows of doubt and non-acceptance.

Transgenders believe that acceptance from their own families and close ones is the key to being accepted in society, but for many, that is still an uphill battle. They are slowly beginning to come out of the closet and working to demystify many misconceptions attached to them. This month, in our effort to get to know them better, and to lend a voice to their issues, we invited a few inspiring individuals to share their stories, struggles and their realities. This is what they had to say…

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The end of road for Diana Hizra

By Ashok DEB
 
 
 
 
As a sexual minority if you have encountered any Human Rights Violation or know about any individual who has undergone traumas, persecution and social apporobation because of their sexual identity feel free to report it at 
 
This report has been published courtesy Tanvir Alim (BoB)

Recently Bangladesh is riding on fresh waves of Transphobia as the torture on the Transgendered Community (HIZRAS) has been on the rise.The most common form of atrocities is RAPE and EXTORTION mastered by the cadres of the political parties or the police.Social apathy rejection and marginalisation has pushed many of the trans individuals into the shadowy world of prostition and crime. A Transgendered Individual named Diana,was brutally raped, murdered  and her battered body was  dumped in a Lake of Rampura Project on 1st February 2009.She was abducted by some suspected anti_social misceants from her residence by 31st January.The police confirms that the investigations are underway but no significant breakthroughs have been achieved yet.It is highly unlikely that the killers of Diana who probably belongs to the gangs of  goons and musclemen of the elite political parties will be ever brought to justice as the Transgenders have very little social recognition or acceptance  in Bangladeshi society .Till recently the Sexual Minorities of Bangladesh lacked a common platform to register and keep track of the Human Rights Violation of the Homosexuals.Hence countless numbers of brutal tortures and inhuman atrocities over the Hizra community has gone largely unreported.The International community continues to remain in dark about the persecution of the Sexual Minorities in Bangladesh and subsequently they fail to address the Bangladeshi Government for ensuring safety and providing more social and legal  recognition for the Homosexuals.

 

 

 

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Filed under Ashok DEB, Bangladesh persecution of Homosexuals, Bangladesh Trans Issues, Tanvir Alim