Archive for December 13th, 2008

brokeback-therion

By Therion

When Italian TV aired Brokeback Mountain recently, gay love scenes had been excised. The missing scenes featured a kiss between actors Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal along with a love scene in a tent.

This wasn’t because the censor had a problem with sexual content per se … a heterosexual love scene stayed in place.

State TV network Rai Due isn’t exactly progressive. It has a fondness for airing biopics of popes. It has as-good-as banned the comedian Sabina Guzzanti – best known for her satirical attacks on the pope and Berlusconi.

It is interesting that the removal of gay content from Brokeback Mountain comes on the same week the Vatican launched an attack on an EU proposal to have the UN move to condemn discrimination against gay people. The Vatican thinks that defending the human rights of homosexuals might open the door for gay marriage … duh.

When a row erupted over the censored content, Rai Due offered some far-fetched excuse related to technical and administrative matters in an effort to claim that it was all an honest mistake. Not many buy this, certainly not opposition senator Luigi Vimercati who described Rai Due’s excuse as “embarrassing” and is calling for a parliamentary enquiry.

The Italian gay rights organization Arcigay believes the suppressing of gay content in the movie is a reflection of the times. There has been a rise in violence against gay people in Italy. Arcigay spokesperson, Matteo Ricci said: “The resistance by politicians of all stripes, backed by the Vatican, to same-sex unions has created the basis for the climate of hostility.”

askiglhrc

Sent by Paula Ettelbrick

Next week, during the session of the United Nations General Assembly, a joint government statement on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity will be presented from the podium. It will be the first time that the General Assembly has formally addressed violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity. As of today, 55 countries spanning 4 continents have signed on to the statement and 5 more countries have indicated their willingness to sign on to the statement, which calls for greater attention to human rights violations perpetrated because of a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity.

And, as of today, the United States has not signed on to the Joint Statement.

IGLHRC and the Council For Global Equality strongly encourage the LGBT community and our allies to send letters today to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, Assistant Secretary Brian Hook, and the US Ambassador to the UN, Mr. Zalmay Khalilzad, asking that the United States join its colleagues from around the world in speaking out against the torture, arrests, violence, discrimination and stigma faced by so many people everywhere because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

Letters to Secretary Rice and Assistant Secretary Hook can be faxed to +1-202-736-4116 or emailed to the US State Department by clicking on this link: http://contact-us.state.gov/, and then clicking on the “email a question/comment” tab and filling out the on-line form. Letters to Ambassador Khalilzad can be faxed to +1 212-415-4443 or emailed to: usa@un.int.

Sample Letter

December 12, 2008

The Honorable Condoleeza Rice
United States Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Madam Secretary:

During the current United Nations General Assembly session, 55 member states will present a Joint Statement on Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and another 5 have indicated that they are willing to sign on to the statement. The Statement reaffirms the universality of human rights and specifically voices concern about the treatment so consistently suffered by those whose sexual orientation or gender identity are the basis for torture, violence, discrimination, stigmatization and death.

We are very troubled and mystified that the United States has not yet joined this non-binding call for basic human rights. We write to ask you to sign onto the Joint Statement and take on the leadership of urging others to join as well.

The widespread incidents of human rights violations against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender people, and all sexual minorities are indisputable. They have been documented thoroughly by NGOs around the world and the UN, and reported with great frequency in the international press. The US State Department itself reports yearly on a variety of violations documented by Embassies around the world. And, the United States Supreme Court has ruled that both laws criminalizing homosexuality and government action that targets LGBT people for discrimination are unconstitutional.

As you yourself so accurately stated on the eve of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Declaration “transcends political and ethnic differences and national boundaries, even as it embraces humanity in all of its diversity.”

The countries that have signed onto the Statement include: Andorra, Armenia, Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Cape Verde, the Central African Republic, Chile, Cuba, Cyprus, Ecuador, Georgia, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Montenegro, New Zealand, San Marino, Sao Tome et Principe, Serbia, Switzerland, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Uruguay, and Venezuela. All 27 member states of the European Union are also signatories. And, we are still receiving word of additional countries that have agreed to sign on.

Shouldn’t the United States join this call for universal human rights and against the continued mistreatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people around the world? We eagerly await your response.

Sincerely,

Paula L. Ettelbrick

Executive Director
International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission

Cc:

His Excellency Mr. Zalmay Khalilzad, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
United States Mission to the United Nations 140 East 45th St
New York, NY 10017
+1 212-415-4443
usa@un.int
Assistant Secretary Brian Hook, Bureau of International Organization Affairs
2201 C Street NW
Room 6323
Washington, DC 20520
+1 202-736-4116

email: executive_director@iglhrc.org
phone: 212-430-6054
web: http://www.iglhrc.org

The Mission of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission is to secure the full enjoyment of human rights of all people and communities subject to discrimination or abuse on the basis of sexual orientation or expression, gender identity or expression and/or HIV status.

sunil-babu-pant2

Nepal Maoists to stand up for gay rights in UN.

Sent by Sunil Pant.

Kathmandu, Dec 11: Nepal’s ruling Maoist party, which till a year ago regarded homosexuality as a perversion threatening to corrupt society, will strike a blow for gay rights at the UN later this month, marking a sea-change in the organisation that took up arms to seize power.

Nepal’s first Maoist Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, who is defying the hardliners in his own party to push for a liberal multi-party democracy, has asked the Foreign Ministry and Nepal’s Ambassador to the UN to support a statement that will be tabled at the UN General Assembly this month recognising human rights violations on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Prachanda, a former revolutionary whose once banned party waged a 10-year war on the state to end the monarchy, renewed his commitment to gay rights on Wednesday to a delegation led by Nepal’s only publicly gay lawmaker Sunil Babu Pant.

The Prime Minister’s office also gave the delegation a copy of the order issued by it Monday, asking the appropriate Ministries to support the gay rights statement in the UN initiated by France and supported by a core group of eight more nations, including Japan, the Netherlands and Norway.

“Since then, 55 other countries have pledged to sign the document,” Pant said. “Nepal becomes the 56th.”

The statement, coming in a year that marks the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, urges for an end to human rights abuse perpetrated on people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The abuses include violence, criminal sanctions, torture and discrimination in accessing economic, social and cultural rights.

The Maoist decision to uphold gay rights comes just a year after its cadres were intimidating homosexuals in Kathmandu valley and asking house owners not to accept gay tenants.

Pant, who was nominated to Nepal’s newly elected constituent assembly by the Communist Party of Nepal-United, a partner in the ruling coalition and the first party to have fielded gays and transgenders during the April elections, says the Supreme Court was the first to secure gay rights.

Last year, the apex court recognised gays as “natural people” and ordered the government to end all discrimination against them. Last month, it also sanctioned gay marriages.

Recognising the growing network and clout of Nepal’s sexual minorities, this year three major political parties, including the Maoists, wooed the community by including gay welfare in their election manifestos.

“I wrote to Prachanda in November, urging him to show leadership at the UN on the issues of sexual and gender diversity,” said Pant, who in 2001 founded the Blue Diamond Society, Nepal’s first gay rights organisation that today is supported by British rock icon Sir Elton John.

“By supporting the France statement, Nepal shows government support for human rights that are set out in its own interim constitution,” he added.

Pant hailed the Maoist government’s efforts on behalf of the sexual minorities.

The budget tabled by Maoist Finance Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai has allocated Nepali Rs 2.5 million (USD 38,800) for a community building that can accommodate 50 homeless transgenders.

In a bigger project under the Poverty Alleviation Programme, about Rs 70 million has been earmarked to uplift the status of marginalised people like women, Dalits (former untouchables) and sexual minorities.

yade2Dépénalisation de l’homosexualité: Rama Yade à l’Onu le 18 décembre

La secrétaire d’État aux droits de l’homme française, Rama Yade, se rendra au siège de l’ONU la semaine prochaine pour «promouvoir» un projet de déclaration sur la dépénalisation de l’homosexualité, annoncé dans Têtu n° 135, juillet-août 2008, et vivement combattu par le Vatican.

«Afin de promouvoir cette déclaration, Rama Yade se rendra à New York le 18 décembre et coprésidera avec Maxime Verhagen, ministre des Affaires étrangères des Pays-Bas, un événement en marge de l’assemblée générale, auquel s’associeront de nombreux autres pays», a déclaré jeudi le porte-parole adjoint du ministère des Affaires étrangères, Frédéric Desagneaux.

M. Desagneaux a rappelé l’engagement de Rama Yade en faveur d’un texte «appelant à la dépénalisation universelle de l’homosexualité qui serait portée aux Nations Unies lors de la présidence française du Conseil de l’Union européenne», qui s’achève à la fin de l’année.

Cette initiative, qui a déjà reçu le soutien d’une soixantaine de pays, «consiste en une déclaration qui sera prononcée dans le cadre de l’assemblée générale des Nations Unies», a-t-il ajouté. Le porte-parole a rappelé que l’homosexualité est passible de la peine de mort «dans au moins six pays dans le monde».

Le Saint-Siège a manifesté à plusieurs reprises son hostilité à ce projet, dont le texte n’a pas encore été rendu public, assurant qu’il se heurtait aux réserves ou à l’hostilité de nombreux pays. Pour le Vatican, cette déclaration répond à l’objectif légitime de bannir la répression de l’homosexualité. Mais en condamnant les «discriminations» et les «préjugés» concernant les homosexuels, il risque à ses yeux de favoriser le mariage gay, l’adoption par des couples du même sexe ou encore la procréation assistée pour les homosexuels.

Copyright tetu.com
par Quotidien/AFP
Info du 11 décembre 2008