Brunei government again defends penal code

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The government of Brunei continues to defend the country’s new penal code that includes the death penalty for anyone found guilty of consensual same-sex sexual relations.

“We reaffirm that the Syariah criminal law system focuses more on prevention than punishment. Its aim is to educate, deter, rehabilitate and nurture rather than to punish,” wrote Dato Erywan Pehin Yusof, the country’s minister of foreign affairs, in a letter it sent to the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights on April 7. “It seeks to strike the right balance between protecting the rights of the accused person and the rights of the victims and their families.”

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US opposes UN resolution against death penalty for same-sex relations

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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The U.S. on Sept. 29 voted against a U.N. Human Rights Council resolution that condemns the death penalty for those found guilty of committing consensual same-sex sexual acts.

The resolution — which Belgium, Benin, Costa Rica, France, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia and Switzerland introduced — passed by a 27-13 vote margin.

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Nikki Haley: U.S. ‘disturbed’ by gay Chechnya arrests

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley on Monday said the U.S. remains “disturbed” by the arrests of more than 100 gay men in Chechnya.

“We continue to be disturbed by reports of kidnapping, torture, and murder of people in Chechnya based on their sexual orientation and those persecuted by association,” she said in a statement. “If true, this violation of human rights cannot be ignored – Chechen authorities must immediately investigate these allegations, hold anyone involved accountable, and take steps to prevent future abuses.”

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First-ever UN LGBT rights watchdog seeks ‘open’ dialogue

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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The U.N.’s first-ever LGBT and intersex rights watchdog says one of his main objectives is “to open the dialogue” around issues that relate to sexual orientation and gender identity.

“I look at this process as an engaging process with all actors,” Vitit Muntarbhorn told the Washington Blade on Jan. 25 during a telephone interview from Geneva where he was holding a two-day series of consultations on LGBT and intersex issues at the U.N. Human Rights Council. “The door’s always open.”

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U.N. creates job to monitor discrimination against LGBTs

By : Wire Report
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Geneva (AP) — The U.N.’s top human rights body on June 30 decided to appoint an expert to monitor violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, a move applauded by LGBT groups.

In a narrow 23-18 vote with six abstentions, the Human Rights Council called for the creation of a three-year position for an independent expert to look into wrongdoing against gays, lesbians and transgender people. The expert is expected to be appointed at the next meeting of the 47-member, Geneva-based body in September.

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17 U.N. envoys vow to fight for LGBT rights around the world

By : Wire Report
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NEW YORK (AP) – U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power and U.N. envoys from 16 other countries visited the Stonewall Inn which helped spark the modern gay rights movement and vowed to step up their fight for the rights of lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender people around the world.

Power stood in the darkly lit gay bar that was the scene of a 1969 police raid that set off riots which emboldened gay activists nationwide and said that being LGBT is not only criminalized in many countries but some impose the death penalty if “you’re a man loving a man, you’re a woman loving a woman.”

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UN changes guidelines: HIV patients should start treatment immediately

By : Wire Report
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LONDON (AP) — The World Health Organization has revised its HIV guidelines to recommend that anyone who tests positive for the virus that causes AIDS should be treated immediately.

That guidance fits with what is already recommended in many developed nations, including the United States.

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Cameroon criticizes media coverage of murder of gay activist

By : Wire Report
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Yaounde, Cameroon (AP) – Cameroon has criticized the media’s reporting on the killing of a prominent gay activist that drew statements of concern from the U.S., France, Britain and the U.N.

In the first official response to the killing of Eric Ohena Lembembe, government spokesman Issa Tchiroma said Friday that journalists aided by civil society groups “have launched attacks on our nation, dragging its image into the mud.”

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