LGBulleTIn #39 - The week in LGBTI news
March 4-10, 2016
Friday, March 4
First same-sex marriage contracted abroad registered in Colombia
A Colombian man has finally seen his marriage registered in his country, three years after he had married his husband – a Spanish citizen – in Barcelona. Julián Castro and Julián Artacho have become the first same-sex couple to see the union they had contracted abroad registered in Colombia.
After their first request was denied, it took more than a year of lawsuits to see their marriage recognised: “It is a matter of equality,” Castro told Agencia EFE: “If I had married a woman, I would have had no trouble at all in seeing my marriage recognised.” The couple is now hoping that their experience “may open an opportunity for other people, too”.
Saturday, March 5
SOGIE activists from across Africa gather in Johannesburg for historic meeting
Human rights defenders from nearly twenty countries across Africa have gathered in Johannesburg for a meeting that aimed at identifying advocacy priorities in ending violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression throughout the continent.
Fadzai Muparutsa of the Coalition of African Lesbians emphasized the importance for human rights defenders to work together: “Before we engage with governments and other state actors, we need to have time and space to consider our diverse lived experiences. We need to understand better how different forms of oppression interact and intersect, particularly in women’s lives.”
The discussion on how to take forward Resolution 275 of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights has been an important part of the meeting. As Stefano Fabeni of Heartland Alliance noted, “[…] We need to develop concrete proposals that can assist in the implementation of this resolution, particularly in relation to violence and access to services.”
Read more via Coalition of African Lesbians
Indonesia: government reportedly drafting an “anti-propaganda” bill
Human rights groups in Indonesia are reportedly setting up hotlines and safe houses for LGBTI persons in vulnerable situations, as the crackdown against the community continues. According to The Jakarta Post, in fact, the Communications and Information ministry is drafting a bill to ban websites that promote content ‘that could threaten national interests,’ after a House of Representatives commission urged the government to do so.
“LGBT issues can damage national security, identity, culture and the faith of Indonesians,” the commission chairman said, while a member of the national assembly claimed he would like to see a legislation that “aims to prevent and protect society from the massive propaganda” allegedly launched by the community.
Measures to limit the circulation of LGBTI content have already been taken in the past few weeks in Indonesia, and politicians may not be united in demanding further legislation on the issue. “Yes, there is a movement funded by foreign funds but it has been banned, so what else is needed?”, Buzzfeed quoted a lawmaker as saying.
Monday, March 7
Europe: 27 member states show support for progress on LGBTI equality
Ministers from 27 EU Member States issued a clear call to the European Commission to step up its work on LGBTI equality measures, and expressed their support for the List of Actions to advance LGBTI equality which were published in December. Only Hungary decided not to support the LGBTI equality conclusions in their present form.
ILGA-Europe executive director Evelyne Paradis said: “While we would have much preferred to have seen full unanimity, this was not just a tacit agreement with the European Commission’s List of Actions. This was a real message from Members States that they want to see practical progress sooner rather than later.”
During this week, the European Parliament also voted a report on gender mainstreaming in its work, issuing a strong call to include “the rights, perspectives and well-being of LGBTIQ people” in all gender mainstreaming activities.
In a report on the situation of women refugees and asylum seekers in the EU, then, the European Parliament stressed “the need for LGBTI-sensitive reception facilities across all Member States.”
United States: Supreme Court overturns Alabama ruling against same-sex adoption
Without any dissent, the eight justices of the US Supreme Court have overturned a lower court ruling that the adoption rights granted to a lesbian couple in Georgia had no validity in Alabama.
"The Georgia judgment appears on its face to have been issued by a court with jurisdiction, and there is no established Georgia law to the contrary," the US Supreme Court ruled in an unsigned opinion. "It follows that the Alabama Supreme Court erred in refusing to grant that judgment full faith and credit."
According to Vox, lawyers now say the case could provide some legal clarity not just for couples in Alabama and Georgia, but for couples residing in other states that deny or challenge unmarried couples' adoptions.
Wednesday, March 9
Re-stoke the fires! ILGA Oceania conference begins in New Zealand
Dozens of activists from all around the world have gathered in Wellington, Aotearoa for the ILGA Oceania Human Rights and Health conference, a few days after the 30th anniversary of the Homosexual Law Reform in New Zealand has been celebrated in a ceremony at the country’s parliament.
“The conference is a great opportunity for our communities to add our voices by identifying the issues affecting us here in Aotearoa/New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific, as well as share our stories on the international stage,” conference co-convenor Rawa Karetai told Gay.nz.
Speaking during the opening ceremony, ILGA's executive director Renato Sabbadini has praised the work of grassroots activists in the region: "You are laying the foundations of a new world, where social justice for all and personal freedom for every one live side by side. [...] ILGA needs your energy and your experience, while welcoming you in a global community of like-minded spirits, comrades and friends."
The conference will continue until Saturday 12, the same day of the capital’s Pride parade.
Find out more the ILGA Oceania conference program
Thursday, March 10
The issue of torture and ill-treatment of LGBTI persons takes centre stage at the Human Rights Council
The report of the Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan E. Méndez, has been presented at the 31st session of the UN Human Rights Council. The document contains very clear references to the mistreatments of LGBTI persons worldwide: “Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons,” it reads, “are disproportionately subjected to practices that amount to torture and ill-treatment for not conforming to socially constructed gender expectations.”
Among the many recommendations it contains, the Special Rapporteur has called states to “repeal laws that allow intrusive and irreversible treatments of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons, including, inter alia, genital normalizing surgeries and ‘reparative’ or ‘conversion therapies’.”
Two days after the presentation of the report and the interactive dialogue that followed, ILGA - together with the Anti-torture initiative, COC Nederlands and the Association on the Prevention of Torture – have organised a Human Rights Council side event on how to end impunity for torture and ill-treatment based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Is that all? More news bites
Human rights organisations have expressed concern over the arrest of 12 trans women in Penang, Malaysia, and are urging police to ensure the detainees are treated humanely.
A survey held among more than 400 lesbian women in Hong Kong has shown the 58% of them is fearing discrimination in the workplace, both by bosses and co-workers.
Only 1 in 25 reports over the violent death of a trans woman in Subang Jaya, Malaysia, do not see the victim misgendered, Justice For Sisters has found.
A trans woman named Buse was found dead in her home in Istanbul, Turkey. Her body reportedly showed signs of beatings.
In Switzerland, the Council of States has extended the right to adopt stepchildren to couples in registered partnerships, after three years of uninterrupted cohabitation.
Police are investigating after at least six shots were fired into the windows of the Schwules Museum, a well-known LGBTI history museum in Berlin, Germany.
In the United Kingdom, the government has announced £ 1 million of funding will be dedicated to tackle homophobic and transphobic bullying in schools.
177 inmates in an Egypt prison have reportedly been tested for HIV after it was discovered that two HIV positive gay men were sharing the jail with them.
An appeals court in Tunisia has reduced the sentence imposed on six students for same-sex sexual activity from three years in jail to one month.
The South African government is planning to submit a "Prevention of Combating Hate Crimes" bill to parliament, which will reportedly include sexual orientation and gender identity among the grounds for discrimination.
New Zealand's 61-year-old adoption laws - which currently stop civil union partners or same-sex de facto couples from adopting - are discriminatory, according to a new ruling by the Human Rights Review Tribunal.
Almost 20,000 persons are backing a petition to help a gay refugee couple from Iran leave Nauru, an island where homosexuality is considered a crime and where they have been left as a consequence of the Australian government’s refugee policies.
Police in New Zealand have said they are currently investigating the case of a trans woman who alleges having being raped by correction officers in a men's prison.
In the United States, New York City mayor has issued an executive order assuring that in city-owned buildings, trans and gender-nonconforming people will be able to use restrooms and other facilities that correspond with their gender identity.
In the United States, the Senate of Missouri has approved a "religious freedom" resolution which would allow religious organizations and individuals to deny services to same-sex couples out of religious objections.
A federal judge ruled that the U.S. ruling on marriage equality does not automatically apply to Puerto Rico. The territory's governor, however,
Reacciona @agarciapadilla a la decisiÃ³n del juez federal Juan PÃ©rez GimÃ©nez sobre el matrimonio igualitario en PR. pic.twitter.com/Ecn30U8Wps
— Robby CortÃ©s (@RobbyCortes) March 9, 2016
" target="_blank">has already announced he will continue to follow the U.S. Supreme Court decisions.
Jamaica might soon see a referendum on the law criminalising sodomy, the newly sworn-in prime minister has announced. Not everyone applauded.
The president of Costa Rica has signed a decree stating that officials may lose their jobs, should they engage in discriminatory behaviour on the grounds of someone's sexual orientation or gender identity.
A recommendation to repeal the law criminalising sodomy in Dominica has reportedly been rejected.
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