Category Archives: International – Policies and Declaration

Aids Conference 2010,turns out to be a dissapointment

activists on a protest march during the AIDS Congerence, Vienna

The Global AIDS Conference is held every two years to highlight the need and success of the HIV prevention programmes and hence estimate the funds required to sustain them.At the 18th International AIDS Chonference in Vienna, there were 248 sessions and 6,238 abstracts presented.However the recently concluded Vienna Aids Conference has been declared as a dissapointment by the global experts.I provide you with a brief synopsis on those issues which has been grossly overlooked in this conference.

Severe Cuts in funding : Dr. Kamal Yanni, a senior HIVpolicy advisor quotes  “The host country, Austria, set the wrong tone. It pledged $1 million into the Global Fund at its inception (2002) and have not put any money and have now said they are not planning to put any money” Most of the donors refused to pledge any actual figure during the conference.  It is unlikely that the estimated 20 million euro budget will be recovered,thus reducing the possibility of introducing newer prevention programmes or expansion of currently running ones.This is quite ridiculous as Aid for poor countries (mostly african and asian nations) represents a small fraction of the donor budget so it will make little saving even if they are curtailed.

The CONDOM issue is undermined:

The cheapest and most effective of all prevention methods is the condom.This conference saw the investments in condoms and safer-sex campaigns fall off Yet, as th experts stressed on new measures come along – microbicides, antiretrovirals, circumcision, etc. According to the United Nations Population Fund, only 2.7 billion condoms were distributed last year against an estimation of 13 billion condoms that are needed.


HIV menance across China and India overlooked:

China and India account for 37 per cent of the world’s population. Yet news from the two countries was virtually nonexistent at the AIDS conference.In India aggressive prvention initiatives among the high-risk groups such as commercial sex workers and migrant workers curtailed the spread of the virus to a mere 2.4 million against an estimation of 100 million a decade ago. China has little HIV testing and a lot of stigma to HIV so the official numbers of 70,000 is ikely to be deceiving. Can the world afford to turn its eyes off these two sleeping giants??

Russia declares it will not change its policies:

Russia is home to one of the most explosive epidemics of HIV/AIDS in the world,  fuelled by IV drug use.  The country has among the most draconian drug policies in the world. Russian officials have balantly declared in AID Conference at Vienna, that they will not fund HIV/AIDS programs for drug users, prisoners and sex workers.

Potential of Male Circumcision not championed:

Studies conducted indicates that male circumcision can reduce a man’s risk of HIV infection by 60 per cent. In countries with the highest HIV/AIDS infections, circumcision rates are less than 10 per cent. The conference heard of vague, plans to raise that to 80 per cent. In practice  fewer than 150,000 operations have been done since the data were first published a few years back. Circumcision is a cause that has potential but does not have an obvious champion.

Acess to HIV medication for all:

The drugs needed to fight the infection needs to be cheaper,affordable and within the buying means of the affected community. Till a cure for HIV arrives a patient needs to be continuosly on medication to retard the process of developing AIDS. But with high price medicines can their treatment be sustained??Most of the time the expense of drugs restricts a continuation of the treatment and the virus starts  developing resistance against it.Estimates indicate that the drugs could be availed at a mere 10% of its present cost if they are procured from the developing world.But no concrete decision was taken on low cost manufacting and effective distribution of these medications.

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Rwandan Parliament to Vote on Criminalizing Homosexuality this Week

Crossposted from ILGHRC website:

http://www.iglhrc.org/cgi-bin/iowa/article/takeaction/resourcecenter/1048.html

Inside view of the Rwandian Parliament


Rwandan Parliament to Vote on Criminalizing Homosexuality this Week

12/15/2009

On December 16, 2009, the lower house of the Rwandan Parliament will hold its final debate on a draft revision of the penal code that will, for the first time, make homosexuality a crime in Rwanda. A vote on this draft code will occur before the end of the week. The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) has learned that the proposed Article 217 of the draft Penal Code Act will criminalize “[a]ny person who practices, encourages or sensitizes people of the same sex, to sexual relation or any sexual practice.” If the Chamber of Deputies approves, the draft code will go before the Rwandan Senate most likely in early 2010.

Article 217 violates Rwandans’ basic human rights and is contradictory to the Rwandan Constitution as well as various regional and international conventions. IGLHRC, the Coalition of African Lesbians (CAL), and Rwanda’s Horizon Community Association (HOCA) will shortly issue a call to action to demand that the Rwandan Parliament withdraw this article. We urge the international community to act against this proposed law and support the equality, dignity, and privacy of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in Rwanda.

This draft provision targeting LGBT people closely follows the introduction of a similar measure in neighboring Uganda, where the nation’s parliament is currently debating an Anti-Homosexuality Bill. The proposed Ugandan law would prohibit all LGBT activism and organizing, would further criminalize consensual same-sex conduct between adults, which is already illegal in Uganda, and in some cases apply the death penalty.


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Sass Sasot at UN: Reclaiming the lucidity of our hearts

UN Speech – Reclaiming the lucidity of our hearts

Opposing grave human rights violations on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity

ECOSOC Chamber, United Nations Headquarters, New York
Thursday, December 10th 2009 at 1.15 p.m. – 2.45 p.m

Sass Rogando Sasot, transgender activist, Society of Transsexual Women of the Philippines (STRAP)


Links to the entire webcast:

English: http://webcast.un.org/ramgen/ondemand/specialevents/2009/se091210pm2.rm

Spanish: http://webcast.un.org/ramgen/ondemand/specialevents/2009/se091210pm2-orig.rm

Let me begin by expressing my warmest gratitude to the Permanent Missions to the United Nations of Argentina, Brazil, Croatia, France, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden, and to the coalition of non-government organizations defending the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. Thank you for making this event possible and for giving us this opportunity to contribute our voices to this ongoing conversation for change. Our esteemed participants, beautiful beings, and profound expressions of this Universe, a warm, vibrant, and dignified afternoon to each and every one of you!

Burned at stake. Strangled and hanged. Raped and shot and stabbed to death. Throats slashed. Left to bleed to death. These are just some of the ways transgender people were killed in different parts of the world, in different times in the history of humanity. These are just the tip, the violent tip, of the iceberg of our suffering. I can go on and on, reciting a litany of indignity upon indignity, but my time is not enough to name all the acts of atrocious cruelty that transgender people experience. But what is the point of counting the dead bodies of our fellow human beings, of narrating how we suffer, and of opposing violence against us if we don’t challenge the root of our oppression?

The sincerity of our intention to address the human rights violations against transgender people rests upon the depth of our appreciation of human diversity and the breadth of our understanding of why transgender people suffer these indignities.

The root of our oppression is the belief that there is only one and only one way to be male or female. And this starts from our birth. Upon a quick look on our genitals, we are assigned into either male or female. This declaration is more than just a statement of what’s between our legs. It is a prescription of how we should and must live our lives. It is a dictation of what we should think about ourselves, the roles we should play, the clothes we should wear, the way we should move, and the people with whom we should have romantic or erotic relationships. But the existence of people whose identities, bodies, and experiences do not conform to gender norms is a proof that this belief is wrong.

Nonetheless, even though the truth of human diversity is so evident and clear to us, we choose to hang on to our current beliefs about gender, a belief that rejects reality and forces people to live a lie. This is the belief that leads to attacks on our physical and mental integrity, to different forms of discrimination against us, and to our social marginalization. This is the belief that led to Joan of Arc to be burned at stake because she was cross-dressing. This is the belief that motivated the rape and murder of Brandon Teena on December 31, 1993. This is the belief that led to the stabbing to death of Ebru Soykan, a prominent transgender human rights activist in Turkey, on March 10, 2009. This is the belief that led to the arrest of 67 Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia for cross-dressing in June this year. This is the belief that keeps the list of transgender people being harassed, killed, and violated growing year after year. And it is very unfortunate that our legal systems, religions, and cultures are being used to justify, glorify, and sanctify the violent expressions of this belief.

So we question: Is human life less precious than this belief? Is our right to life, to dignified existence, to liberty, and pursuit of happiness subservient to gender norms? This doesn’t need a complicated answer. You want to be born, to live, and die with dignity – so do we! You want the freedom to express the uniqueness of the life force within you – so do we! You want to live with authenticity – so do we!

Now is the time that we realize that diversity does not diminish our humanity; that respecting diversity does not make us less human; that understanding and accepting our differences do not make us cruel. And in fact, history has shown us that denying and rejecting human variability is the one that has lead us to inflict indignity upon indignity towards each other.

We are human beings of transgender experience. We are your children, your partners, your friends, your siblings, your students, your teachers, your workers, your citizens.

Let our lives delight in the same freedom of expression that you enjoy as you manifest to the outside world your unique and graceful selves.

Let us live together in the fertile ground of our common humanity for this is the ground where religion is not a motivation to hate but a way to appreciate the profound beauty and mysteries of life;

for this is the ground where laws are not tools to eliminate those who are different from us but are there to facilitate our harmonious relationship with each other;

for this is the ground where culture is not a channel to express the brutality of our limited perception but a means to express the nobility of our souls;

for this is the ground where the promise of the universality of human rights can be fulfilled!

And we will be in this ground if we let the sanity of our desires, the tenacity of our compassion, and above all, the lucidity of our hearts to reign in our lives.

Thank you!

—————-

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Trans Rights Declaration endorsed by ILGA-Europe in Malta

silvan agius of ILGA europe opens the trans rights conference

Ashok DEB-ILGA-Europe and Trangender Europe held a joint conference on the 28th October 2009 , which also included a social programme in the evening with a performance and an opening of an exhibition. At this meet a Declaration was  proposed that was adopted by great majority of the participants of the Trans Rights Conference in Malta on October 28th 2009.  It was endorsed on by ILGA-Europe and will be used as policy documents guiding the future work of both organisations.

Declaration of the Trans Rights Conference ,

28th October 2009, Malta

We, the participants of the European Trans Rights Conference, yearn for a Europe free from all discrimination(1), where all people are valued equally irrespective of their gender identity and gender expression.  We envision a Europe where people of all gender identities and gender expressions are fully respected and can live freely without any violations to their human rights and institutions’ interferences in their private lives, in accordance with the Yogyakarta Principles(2).  We want a Europe where health insurance funded adequate hormonal and surgical medical assistance is available in a non-pathologizing manner to all those trans people(3) who seek it, and where no trans person is required to undergo any compulsory medical treatment (such as sterilization or gender reassignment surgeries) or a mental disorder diagnosis in order to change legal gender and/or name.

Julia Ehrt presents the Proposed Declaration of the Trans Righs Conference that was adopted later

Commissioner for Human Rights’ ‘Gender Identity and Human Rights’ Issue Paper

We unanimously welcome the ‘Gender Identity and Human Rights’ Issue Paper(4) published by the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg, in July 2009.  Commissioner Hammarberg’s Issue Paper is a significant step forward in articulating the human rights and equality that national governments should provide to trans people. We endorse all of Commissioner Hammarberg’s twelve recommendations and urge all 47 Council of Europe Member States to implement these recommendations at their national levels, including the implementation of legislation/procedures that allows to change name and gender without compulsory medical treatments, or any form of diagnosis, and including strong anti-discrimination legislation inclusive of gender identity and gender expression.

•We call upon the Commissioner to exercise his influence with the Council of Europe’s Member States to ensure that they tackle any gaps in their legislation and policies with regard to the twelve recommendations in the Issue Paper.

European Institutions
We note the importance of European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (1950) and European Union gender equality directives and various judgements of the European Court of Human Rights and European Court of Justice, in reducing discrimination against trans people.

We call upon the institutions of the Council of Europe and the European Union to:

• Monitor the implementation of case-law and gender equality legislation vis-à-vis trans people
• Make sure that future gender equality legislation expressly includes gender identity and gender expression
• Outlaws any form of discrimination against all trans people explicitly.
• Clearly include measures addressing trans equality issues within gender mainstreaming measures; funding programmes; and including the multi-dimensional gender identity and gender expression in internal and external policy
• Fund detailed research and data collection on trans equality and human rights issues
• Consult and involve trans equality and rights organisations in European gender equality and human rights policy development

the proposed declaration that was adopted later at the conference

Organisation for the Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)

We note with particular concern the high murder rate and violence against trans people across Europe.  Often the police fails to investigate cases of hate crime and killings of trans people and no adequate prosecution of the perpetrators takes place. In addition trans related hate crimes are hardly documented and monitored.

Additionally, trans people with migration background and trans sex workers are especially vulnerable and face multiple forms of discrimination as well as social exclusion and economic hardship.

• We call on participating States of the OSCE to enact hate crime legislation fully inclusive of trans people.
• We call on participating States of the OSCE to ensure safe detainment and contact with their communities for trans prisoners.
• We call upon the OSCE to monitor and urge for investigation of murders of trans people as hate crimes.

Social Partners: Trade Unions and Employers’ Organisations

We are concerned with the high level of discrimination that many trans people face in access to, and retention of employment.  This frequently leads to poverty and severe negative repercussions on their lives and health.  A disproportionately high number of trans people get fired when their transgender status becomes known to their employers (e.g. when starting a process of gender transition, when being visibly gender-non-conforming, etc.).

• We call upon the social partners to proactively undertake joint initiatives with trans and LGBT organisations to reduce trans discrimination and harassment at the workplace, and to implement workplace policies which uphold trans workers’ dignity.
• We call upon the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) and its members to implement the eleven actions and activities that the ETUC outlined in its Executive Committee’s Resolution on LGBT rights of 2008.(5)
• We call upon employers’ organisations to tackle the issue of discrimination against trans people in promoting diversity with their members, and to highlight how current equality legislation applies to trans people.

opening of the serious game exhibition

National equality bodies

We note the importance of national equality bodies in tackling discrimination against trans people through enforcement of gender equality and anti-discrimination legislation at national level.  The Fundamental Rights Agency’s social situation report6 shows that national equality bodies are currently not sufficiently including trans issues in their work. We therefore call upon national equality bodies to:

• Be pro-active in enforcing anti-discrimination legislation to improve trans equality and human rights.
• Monitor the implementation of case-law and gender equality legislation vis-à-vis trans people.
• Include trans people in gender mainstreaming measures
•Produce guidance on trans-rights and equality.
•Support trans people in taking forward cases of discrimination to courts and/or respective entities.
• Make sure that future gender equality legislation expressly includes gender identity and gender expression.
• Research, collect and publish data on trans equality and human rights issues
• Consult and involve trans equality and rights organisations in national gender equality and human rights policy development.
World Health Organisation (WHO)   We observe with great concern that trans identities are still pathologized and considered a mental health condition.  Given its strong implications on the living of trans people in Europe we therefore demand the removal of gender identity disorder from the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).
• We call upon the World Health Organisation to safeguarded the human rights of trans people in the current revisions of the ICD 10 and DSM IV.
• We call for an alternative non-pathologizing category in the ICD 11, which establishes quality standards for medical treatments ample to support the gender expression of trans people.  No national or international health institution shall render transgender identities as mental health disorders.  They should nonetheless enable access to hormonal, surgical and or psychological medical assistance to be provided to those trans-people who seek such assistance.

Serious Game Exhibition

Finally, we ask Transgender Europe (TGEU) and the European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA-Europe) to continue lobbying for full trans equality and rights on a European level and call upon TGEU, ILGA-Europe and national trans organizations to work together for the implementation of Commissioner Hammarberg’s recommendations throughout Europe.  We call strongly all Member States of the Council of Europe to take active steps safeguard the human rights of all people explicitly including trans people.

1 Discrimination against trans people in Europe has been widely documented in both Homophobia and Discrimination on Grounds of Sexual Orientation in the EU Member States: Part I – Legal Analysis (2008) http://fra.europa.eu/fraWebsite/material/pub/comparativestudy/FRA_hdgso_part1_en.pdf and Homophobia and Discrimination on Grounds of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in the EU Member States: Part II – The Social Situation (2009) http://fra.europa.eu/fraWebsite/attachments/FRA_hdgso_report_Part%202_en.pdf

2 Yogyakarta Principles on the Application of International Human Rights Law in relation to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (2007) http://www.yogyakartaprinciples.org/

3 Trans people (as used above) includes those people who have a gender identity which is different to the gender assigned at birth and those people who wish to portray their gender identity in a different way to the gender assigned at birth.  It includes those people who feel they have to, or prefer or choose to, whether by clothing, accessories, cosmetics or body modification, present themselves differently to the expectations of the gender role assigned to them at birth. This includes, among many others, transsexual and transgender people, transvestites, cross dressers, no gender, multigender, genderqueer people.

4 Human Rights and Gender Identity Issue Paper (2009) https://wcd.coe.int/ViewDoc.jsp?id=1476365

5 ETUC actions and activities on promoting equal rights, respect and dignity for workers regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity (2008)

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International Campaign to Promote Human Rights across Muslim Societies

Crossposted from ILGHRC website

http://www.iglhrc.org/cgi-bin/iowa/article/takeaction/partners/997.html

IGLHRC believes that a vital part of our mission is supporting the work of activist organizations and allies by disseminating important information on human rights issues affecting LGBT communities worldwide. To this end we are reposting the following announcement from one of our partners.

For Immediate Release

Contact: Women for Women’s Human Rights (WWHR) – New Ways
Email: irazca.geray@wwhr.org
Tel: +90 212 251 00 29

Human rights, including sexual and reproductive rights have been under attack in all Muslim societies. Rising conservatism, fueled by militarism, increasing inequalities, the politicization of religion and Islamophobia have strengthened patriarchal and extremist religious ideologies. For instance, last week a woman in Turkey was asked to get written consent from her rapist in order to have an abortion which is against all existing legal regulations, while a recent bill passed in the Sudan annulled the prohibition of FGM/C and a new legislation in Indonesia’s Aceh now allows for stoning to death as punishment for adultery, while the bodily and sexual rights of Palestinian women continue to be violated in the shadow of the apartheid wall…These examples remind us again that sexuality is not a private issue but a site of political struggle.

On November 9, 2009, a very diverse group of NGOs will stage bold actions in 11 countries to promote human rights. As part of the historic international campaign “One Day One Struggle” organized by the Coalition for Sexual and Bodily Rights in Muslim Societies (CSBR), over 20 organizations will hold simultaneous events and public demonstrations on topics like protesting customary practices such as honor killings and FGM/C, overturning discriminatory and life threatening laws like stoning or lashing of women, and calling for LGBT rights, the right to sexuality education and the right to bodily and sexual integrity of all people.

During the Campaign that promises to be a milestone event in the history of the sexual and reproductive rights movement, hundreds will gather in university campuses in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Lebanon and the Sudan, at press conferences in Cyprus, Egypt and Malaysia, in conference and concert halls in Tunisia and Pakistan and on the streets of Turkey and Palestine, to assert that sexual and reproductive rights are universal human rights based on the inherent freedom, dignity and equality of all human beings.

########

CSBR is a globally renowned solidarity network of progressive NGOs and premier academic institutions in the Middle East, North Africa, South and Southeast Asia, working to promote sexual and bodily rights as human rights in Muslim societies. www.wwhr.org/csbr.php

To find out more about the Campaign in:

Bangladesh:
Bandhu Social Welfare Organization, Centre for Gender, Sexuality and HIV/AIDS James P. Grant School of Public Health, BRAC University, Naripokkho, Rongberong: sabina@bracu.ac.bd; dmsiddiqi@yahoo.com
Boys of Bangladesh (BoB): xecon27@yahoo.com

Cyprus:
Feminist Workshop (FEMA): feministatolye@gmail.com

Egypt:
Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), New Woman Foundation (NWF): eipr@eipr.org

Indonesia:
GAYa NUSANTRA: maria.notes@yahoo.com
Puan Amal Hayati Foundation (PUAN): atashabsjah@yahoo.com

Lebanon:
Meem: lynn@meemgroup.org
Helem: ghassan@helem.net

Maylasia:
Women’s Aid Organization (WAO), All Women’s Action Society (AWAM), Sisters in Islam (SIS), Empower: vizlakumaresan@yahoo.co.uk

Pakistan:
Vision: ahsan_anwari@hotmail.com
Organization for the Protection and Propagation of the Rights of Sexual Minorities (OPPRSM): kylapasha@gmail.com

Palestine:
Gender Studies Project at MADA Al-Carmel, Arab Center for Applied Social Research: himmat@mada-research.org
Muntada, The Arab Forum for Sexuality, Education and Health: safa.tamish@gmail.com
Women Against Violence (WAV): aida_touma_slima@hotmail.com; wav_org@hotmail.com

Sudan:
Ahfad University for Women: Amani_elkhatim@yahoo.com

Tunisia:
Association Tunisienne des Femmes Démocrates (ATFD):ahlembelhadj@gmail.com; childpsy_razi@yahoo.fr

TURKEY:
Women for Women’s Human Rights (WWHR) – New Ways: irazca.geray@wwhr.org

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BoB set to be a part of Global CSBR celebration “One Day Struggle”

common_banner2

Banner which BoB will be using for the campaign.

Forwarded by Xecon and BoB

Edited by Ashok DEB

For the first time ever BoB will be publicly holding a campaign called ‘Jaago, One Day One Struggle’ on November 9. It’s a part of the international campaign involving 13 countries to raise awareness around sexuality and bodily rights initiated by CSBR, a coalition of LGBT organizations in the Muslim societies. The venue of this event is kept undisclosed for  security reasons.

BoB’s message board  announced the event by forwarding this e-mail to its members.

On November 9, 2009, a very diverse group of organizations will stage bold actions in 10 countries to promote human rights.

As part of the historic international campaign “One Day One Struggle” organized by the Coalition for Sexual and Bodily Rights in Muslim Societies (CSBR), over 20 organizations will hold simultaneous events and public demonstrations on topics like protesting customary practices such as honor killings and FGM/C, overturning discriminatory and life threatening laws like stoning or lashing of women, and calling for LGBT rights, the right to sexuality education and the right to bodily and sexual integrity of all people.

During the Campaign that promises to be a milestone event in the history of the sexual and reproductive rights movement, hundreds will gather in university campuses in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Lebanon and the Sudan, at public forums in Malaysia, North Cyprus and Turkey, in conference and concert halls in Tunisia and Pakistan and on the streets of Palestine, to assert that sexual and reproductive rights are universal human rights based on the inherent freedom, dignity and equality of all human beings.

bob film Boys of Bangladesh is proud to be a party of this international campaign and is     arranging this Film Show for the BD LGBT community to express their solidarity with the campaign. Please join in hands and come in bunches to celebrate and foster diversity which makes each of us unique and dignified.

There is no entrance fee for the film show but do confirm your participation beforehand if you don’t want to see the whole movie standing.

Call: Xecon **********
E-mail: xecon27@yahoo.com

And to get a glimpse of the movie, click here

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0292066/

Xecon,a prominent BoB activist who attended the CSBR seminar in Turkey this September forwarded the following Press Release about the  International campaign One Day Struggle to be celebrated in 11 Islamic nations.

one day 1

Press Release

International Campaign to Promote Human Rights across Muslim Societies

Human rights, including sexual and reproductive rights have been under attack in all Muslim societies. Rising conservatism, fueled by militarism, increasing inequalities, the politicization of religion and Islamophobia have strengthened patriarchal and extremist religious ideologies. For instance, last week a woman in Turkey was asked to get written consent from her rapist in order to have an abortion, while a recent bill passed in the Sudan annulled the prohibition of FGM/C and a new legislation in Indonesia’s Aceh now allows for stoning to death as punishment for adultery, while the bodily and sexual rights of Palestinian women continue to be violated in the shadow of the apartheid wall… These examples remind us again that sexuality is not a private issue but a site of political struggle.

On November 9, 2009, a very diverse group of NGOs will stage bold actions in 11 countries to promote human rights. As part of the historic international campaign “One Day One Struggle” organized by the Coalition for Sexual and Bodily Rights in Muslim Societies (CSBR), over 20 organizations will hold simultaneous events and public demonstrations on topics like protesting customary practices such as honor killings and FGM/C, overturning discriminatory and life threatening laws like stoning or lashing of women, and calling for LGBT rights, the right to sexuality education and the right to bodily and sexual integrity of all people.

During the Campaign that promises to be a milestone event in the history of the sexual and reproductive rights movement, hundreds will gather in university campuses in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Lebanon and the Sudan, at press conferences in Cyprus, Egypt and Malaysia, in conference and concert halls in Tunisia and Pakistan and on the streets of Turkey and Palestine, to assert that sexual and reproductive rights are universal human rights based on the inherent freedom, dignity and equality of all human beings.

CSBR is a globally renowned solidarity network of progressive NGOs and premier academic institutions in the Middle East, North Africa, South and Southeast Asia, working to promote sexual and bodily rights as human rights in Muslim societies. www.wwhr.org/csbr.php

To find out more about the Campaign in BANGLADESH contact:

-          Centre for Gender, Sexuality and HIV/AIDS James P Grant School of Public Health, BRAC University: sabina@bracu.ac.bd; dmsiddiqi@yahoo.com

-          Boys of Bangladesh (BoB): xecon27@yahoo.com

common_banner1

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France condemns Uganda’s proposed anti-gay law

Crossposted from Pink News

By Jessica Geen • November 3, 2009 – 19:04

The law will mean death or life in prison for gays

The French foreign ministry has attacked a bill in Uganda which would see gay people facing the death penalty.

“France expresses deep concern regarding the bill currently before the Ugandan parliament,” the foreign ministry said in a statement sent to AFP in Kampala yesterday.

“France reiterates its commitment to the decriminalisation of homosexuality and the fight against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”

American lawmakers have also expressed concern over the bill.

leana Ros-Lehtinen, (Republican, Miami), Tammy Baldwin, (Democrat, Wisconsin), Gary Ackerman, (Democrat, New York) and Howard Berman, (Democrat, California), have written to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warning that it had severe implications for the freedom and safety of gay people.

The letter said: “We write to raise serious concerns about the Anti-Homosexual Bill introduced in Uganda’s parliament earlier this month. This egregious bill represents one of the most extreme anti-equality measures ever proposed in any country and would create a legal pretext for depriving lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Ugandans of their liberty, and even their lives.”

The private member’s bill was tabled by Ndorwa West MP David Bahati, of the ruling party.

It would create a new crime of “aggravated homosexuality”.

According to his bill, those convicted of having gay sex with disabled people and those under the 18 would face the death penalty.

Gay and human rights groups have condemned the proposed laws, saying they would violate basic human rights.

The bill also imposes life imprisonment on those who have homosexual sex. Although this is already the case in Uganda, the new law widens the definition of the offence.

Other offence include promoting homosexuality, aiding and abetting homosexuality and keeping a house “for purposes of homosexuality”.

In an article for the Uganda Observer yesterday, Bahati said that homosexuality was not a human right.

He added: ” We will never accept homosexuality for the sake of appeasing other countries or as an incentive for their money.”

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VOA News: IGHLRC Challenges Uganda’s New Same-Sex Proposal

ScreenHunter_01 Oct. 21 16.32

VOA News: IGHLRC Challenges Uganda’s New Same-Sex Proposal
10/16/2009

A coalition of 17 local and international human rights groups have joined together to fight wide-ranging anti-homosexual legislation introduced this week in Uganda’s parliament. The coalition says restrictions move beyond bedroom conduct to challenge basic freedoms of expression and assembly and place barriers against the promotion of HIV/AIDS prevention projects.

Executive director Cary Alan Johnson of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) says the law’s discriminative and harsh punitive features represent a last-ditch effort by anti-gay and evangelical groups to restrict personal freedoms in Uganda and in other African countries, and he hopes the rights groups can prevent the bill’s passage.

Read the full article »

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New UN Assembly President Treki’s Statements on LGBT Rights outrages ILGA

rename

Crossposted from ILGA website

http://www.iglhrc.org/cgi-bin/iowa/article/takeaction/partners/979.html

New UN Assembly President Treki’s Statements on LGBTI Rights and Decriminalisation of Homosexuality is Not “Some Kind of Democracy”
09/28/2009

ILGA is deeply worried and outraged by UN Assembly new President Ali Abdussalam Treki’s failure to consider the protection of the life and safety of lesbians, gay men, trans, intersex and bisexual people all over the world a matter of human rights.

In an interview prior to his first address to the UN Assembly in his new role, Mr Treki declared himself to be “not in favour at all” with reference to the Statement in favour of the decriminalisation of homosexuality signed by 66 Countries and read by the Argentinian representative last December at the General Assembly in New York.

Furthermore, Mr Treki said that the matter referred to by the Statement, i.e. decriminalisation, was “not acceptable in the majority of the world” and that “there are some countries that allow that (sic), thinking it is a kind of democracy.”

Considering that the Statement called for the universal decriminalisation of homosexuality, one cannot but conclude that the new President of the UN Assembly is… in favour of criminalising lesbians and gay men, bisexual, trans and intersex people. The worrying and serious implications of this attitude, coming from the new head of an institution which is supposed to regard human rights – all human rights – as the most sacred value, cannot be overstated.

We appeal to the representatives of the States which signed the Statement against criminalisation of homosexuality, but also voted for the election of Mr. Treki in his new position, to demand an explanation to the UN Assembly President for his words and react consequently.

Gloria Careaga & Renato Sabbadini
Co-Secretaries General, ILGA

For more information, contact Renato Sabbadini, +32 474 857 950 or rentao@ilga.org

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Sunil Babu Pant Strongly Denounce new President of the United Nations’ ‘unacceptable’ views on homosexuality

Crossposted from

Thursday, 01 October 2009 at 19:51

I am extremely concerned and saddened when I heard: Taking his post at the opening of the 64th General Assembly of the United Nations, on 15 September 2009, Libyan Ali Abdussalam Treki suggested that homosexuality was unacceptable.

The newly-elected President was asked during his press conference about the UN Resolution calling for the universal decriminalization of homosexuality. “That matter is very sensitive, very touchy. As a Muslim, I am not in favour of it…it is not accepted by the majority of the countries. My opinion is not in favour of this matter at all, I think it is not really acceptable by our religion, our tradition”, he said.

I call on the President to represent all countries and people of all walks not only Muslims. He is there to defend the principles of the United Nations and that includes the Universal Declaration Human Rights Act 1948 and all following amendments and covenants of rights, including LGBT Human Rights.

His religious views should remain private and he must now speak on behalf of those who do not have a voice. He should know that the implications of his words could legitimize violence and hatred towards LGBTI people in country like Libya.

Nepal, along with 66 countries, signed the Resolution in favour of the decriminalization of homosexuality and passed last December. Nepal is very much committed to realize full equality and justice for all regardless of sexual orientations and gender identities.

Sunil Babu Pant
MP, Nepal
Founder, Blue Diamond Society
Coordinator, Parliamentary Action Team on Environment, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction.

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Experiencing CSBR conference in Istanbul

bobComments by Ashok DEB: A prominent gay rights activist who is also a  talented painter from Bangladesh attended the International Conference organized by CSBR in Istanbul last month.Here he writes about the policies and decisions that were adopted in the Conferrence. Turkey is perceived to be a liberal Islamic state with morals and virtues which conform somewhat to the modern International norms. Yet the country has experienced rapid Homo & Transphobia in the recent days, where the atrocities ranged from Hate crimes to even Honour Killings.We hope such dialogues will assist to create an amicable environment where the sexual minorities would be able to live their life a bit more peacefully.


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Sexuality is a central aspect of being human throughout life and encompasses sex, gender identities and roles, sexual orientation, eroticism, pleasure, intimacy and reproduction.

Sexuality is experienced and expressed in thoughts, fantasies, desires, beliefs, attitudes, values, behaviors, practices, roles and relationships. While sexuality can include all of these dimensions, not all of them are always experienced or expressed.

Sexuality is influences by the interaction of biological, psychological, social, economic, political, cultural, ethical, legal, historical, religious and spiritual factors.“ World Health Organization, working definition, 2004

Over the course of seven packed days in mid-September 2009, I had the chance to take part in the 2nd CSBR Sexuality Institute in Istanbul, Turkey, organized by the Istanbul-based NGO Women for Womens Human Rights (WWHR) “ New Ways, which serves as the international coordination office of the Coalition for Sexual and Bodily Rights in Muslim Societies (CSBR). I was there as a represent of BOB. And I have to say those were seven of the most fulfilling, enriching, and thought-provoking days of my life so far, which I shared with 18 other participants from the Middle East and North Africa, South and South East Asia. The 11 “ 18 September 2009 CSBR Institute was a treasure trove, a feast of information and knowledge.
The Institute is designed to advance participants knowledge, understanding, research and advocacy skills for sexual, reproductive and bodily health and rights, while strengthening their theoretical background and analysis of sexuality in Muslim societies and introducing CSBRs holistic and affirmative discourse on sexuality.

To this end, the aims of the CSBR Sexuality Institute are:

To further knowledge on the multi-dimensional and intersecting aspects of sexuality, health and rights;
To develop a deeper theoretical understanding of sexuality through a historical overview and analysis of current debates and research at the global level;
To provide a comprehensive and holistic understanding of sexuality in Muslim societies through a discussion of the history, legal frameworks, research, and current discourses;
To enhance participants’ sexual and reproductive health and rights advocacy skills on national and international levels;
To increase participants’ capacity as leading advocates, practitioners and researchers on sexuality issues at national, regional and international levels.

Sexuality is a transfer point for relations of power. Power is not a thing. Its a relation. Its productive, not only repressive. Its not only the property of the state. Its exercised throughout the social body. Everybody participates to some degree in the continuation or modification of existing power relations.

Regards

*******( Name with held)

Boys Of Bangladesh

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India: Government Defers Decision on 377 to Supreme Court

http://www.iglhrc.org/cgi-bin/iowa/article/takeaction/resourcecenter/974.html

09/18/2009

The government of India decided on September 17, 2009 that it will not oppose the Delhi High Court verdict on Section 377 of the Penal Code, which decriminalizes homosexuality by “reading down” the section pertaining to same-sex relations between consenting adults in private. Indian activists are praising this decision as a symbol of tacit support for decriminalization in this landmark case.

Following the High Court’s ruling on July 2, 2009, a panel composed of Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily, Home Minister P. Chidambaram, and Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad was assembled to consider the advantages and disadvantages of changing the law. After reviewing the findings of the panel, the government has opted not to join the appeal and to let the Supreme Court determine the “correctness” of the High Court’s ruling. Upon announcing the decision, Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni added that the Cabinet would ask Attorney General Goolam Vahanvati to assist the Supreme Court in any way possible, suggesting that the government could still weigh in during the appeal.

The Cabinet’s deference to the judiciary effectively leaves the fate of Section 377 in the hands of the Supreme Court, which can be unpredictable or unwilling to intervene on moral issues. The Supreme Court has received several private challenges to the Delhi High Court’s verdict in this case, some of which are led by religious organizations using language reminiscent of Christian fundamentalism in the United States. The government’s neutrality on the issue – despite varying degrees of support for reading down Section 377 from all three members of its exploratory panel – suggests that the government may be reluctant to bear the furor of opponents from conservative political parties and unleash a backlash from conservative community groups.

Gay journalist and activist Vikram Doctor says, “We knew there was resistance from some members of the government but saner voices have prevailed, and this is a really important signal to the Supreme Court on how the government would like the case to proceed.”

While IGLHRC appreciates that the Cabinet has refused to join the appeal, the government must also be a proactive voice for vulnerable segments of India’s society who are targeted for their sexual orientation and subjected to all kinds of abuses, including sexual violence, physical assaults, blackmail and intimidation by unscrupulous members of the community and police force who use the presence of Section 377 to act with impunity. Unequivocal support for the Delhi High Court’s decision by the central government will send a powerful message that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in India are entitled to human rights.

As noted by Chief Justice A.P. Shah of the Delhi High Court in his ruling on Section 377, “Indian Constitutional law does not permit the statutory criminal law to be held captive by the popular misconceptions of who the LGBTs are.” Enacted by the British in 1868 when they ruled India, Section 377 is inconsistent with the Indian Constitution, specifically Article 14 on equality before the law, Article 15 on non-discrimination on grounds of sex, Article 19 on freedom of expression, and Article 21 on right to life and personal liberty.

At a September 16, 2009 forum on HIV, human rights and MSM in Washington, D.C., Michel Sidibe, Executive Director of UNAIDS linked homophobia and continued criminalization of homosexuality to a lack of HIV-related services. According to Sidibe, “We have to remove these laws as they reflect deep-seated stigma and prejudice. Instead of universal access, we have universal obstacles. Gay people are the ones who brought attention to HIV and AIDS but as we moved on to generalizing services for people with the virus, we forgot them.” Sidibe added that India’s decision on 377 is a huge victory because “removing laws that criminalize and discriminate herald a new framework and new commitment and a new movement to universal access to health and human rights.”

Click http://www.iglhrc.org/cgi-bin/iowa/article/takeaction/globalactionalerts/931.html to see the full text of the Delhi High Court decision. Click http://www.iglhrc.org/cgi-bin/iowa/article/takeaction/partners/205.html to read the court proceedings on the 377 case.

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