Rights group cheers Bhutan’s move toward legalizing gay sex

By : Wire Report
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ABOVE: Dzong of Bhutan. (From Wikimedia Commons)

NEW DELHI (AP) | A global rights group welcomed Bhutan’s move June 9 toward becoming the latest South Asian nation to decriminalize homosexuality.

The tiny Himalayan kingdom’s lower house of Parliament voted overwhelmingly on June 7 to repeal provisions that said “unnatural sex” is illegal. The bill still needs to be passed by the upper chamber before being sent for royal assent.

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Human Rights Watch reports new wave of Chechnya gay abuse

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MOSCOW (AP) | Human Rights Watch is reporting a new wave of gay men being detained and tortured in the Russian republic of Chechnya.

The group said it interviewed four gay men who had fled the conservative, predominantly Muslim region saying they were harshly abused by police, who they said used electric shocks and beat them while they were strung up by the legs. It said their accounts were consistent with a complaint filed by an LGBT activist in January.

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Japan urged to stop requiring surgery for ID gender change

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TOKYO (AP) | Human Rights Watch urged Japan on March 20 to drop its requirement that transgender people be sterilized before their gender is changed on official documents.

A 2004 law states that people wishing to register a gender change must have their original reproductive organs removed and have a body that “appears to have parts that resemble the genital organs” of the gender they want to register. The Supreme Court in January rejected an appeal by a transgender man who wanted legal recognition without undergoing surgery, though the court acknowledged that the practice restricts freedom and could become out of step with changing social values.

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Transgender political activist in Egypt arrested for ‘misusing social media’

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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A transgender political activist in Egypt remains in police custody after authorities arrested her last week on charges that she was “misusing social media.”

Human Rights Watch in a press release cited a pro-government newspaper that said authorities on March 6 arrested Malak al-Kashif. She had been held at an undisclosed location, but a source told the Washington Blade on March 11 that her lawyers have learned she is at a Cairo police station.

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Angola decriminalizes homosexuality, bans anti-gay discrimination

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Lawmakers in Angola approved a new penal code that decriminalizes consensual same-sex sexual relations in the African country.

The Angolan Parliament on Jan. 23 scrapped the law that had been in place since Portugal colonized the country. Lawmakers also banned discrimination based on sexual orientation.

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Research warns Indonesia gay bashing is fueling HIV epidemic

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JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) – Disowned by his father and ill-equipped to deal with the stigma of HIV/AIDS, a young man who died in the central Indonesian city of Yogyakarta early this year had “effectively committed suicide” by stopping anti-viral medication, according to a doctor familiar with the case.

The 20-year-old man’s shocking death is a sign of an out-of-control but little acknowledged epidemic of HIV among gay men in Indonesia that researchers say is now being fueled by a gay hate climate whipped up by the country’s conservative political and religious leaders.

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Electric shocks: Chechen gay men recount days of torture

By : Wire Report
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MOSCOW (AP) – Anzor was lying on a dirty floor as a man in army boots jumped on his back. His agony worsened when his captors started torturing him with electric shocks.

“It’s a feeling like they are breaking every bone of every joint in your body at the same time,” he said.

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Human rights group urges against forced anal exams in 8 countries

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Geneva (AP) – Human Rights Watch is urging an end to “forced anal examinations” with a report documenting them in eight countries, mostly in Africa, saying the practice is based on flawed ideas about supposedly proving homosexual conduct.

The advocacy group calls the examinations “a form of cruel, degrading and inhuman treatment” that amounts to sexual assault, violates international conventions and could rise to the level of torture. 

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Malawi halts gay arrests and prosecution until anti-gay laws reviewed

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Johannesburg (AP) – The Malawi government has reaffirmed its decision to halt the arrest and prosecution of gay citizens while lawmakers review existing anti-gay laws.

Rights groups Human Rights Watch and the Centre for the Development of the People praised the Malawian government for upholding its 2012 commitment, after prosecutors dropped charges against a same-sex couple.

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Human Rights Watch report says LGBT Jamaicans victims of violence

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) — Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people are the targets of unchecked violence and discrimination in Jamaica, frequently refused housing or employment in the Caribbean country typically described as the region’s most hostile to LGBT citizens, a leading human rights group says in a report released Oct. 21.

In its 86-page report titled “Not Safe at Home,” Human Rights Watch noted that LGBT citizens in Jamaica are often driven from their communities by neighbors and sometimes even family. Some health professionals stigmatize them by casting judgment on their sexuality when they seek care. Police protection against bias and physical attacks is generally poor.

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Olympics opens the doors for activisim on anti-gay Russian laws

By : Wire Report
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NEW YORK (AP) – Despite seven months of international outcry, Russia’s law restricting gay-rights activity remains in place. Yet the eclectic protest campaign has heartened activists in Russia and caught the attention of its targets – including organizers and sponsors of the Sochi Olympics that open on Feb. 7.

Over the past two weeks, two major sponsors, Coca-Cola and McDonald’s, have seen some of their Sochi-related social media campaigns commandeered by gay-rights supporters who want the companies to condemn the law. Several activists plan to travel to Sochi, hoping to team up with sympathetic athletes to protest the law while in the Olympic spotlight.

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Cameroon gay rights activist tortured and killed

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A prominent gay rights activist in Cameroon was tortured and killed just weeks after issuing a public warning about the threat posed by “anti-gay thugs,” Human Rights Watch said.

Friends discovered the body of Eric Ohena Lembembe at his home in the capital, Yaounde, on Monday evening after he was unreachable for two days, the rights group said in a statement Tuesday.

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