Archive for March, 2010

Saudi jailed and flogged for gay video – Sent by Doug Ireland

The following appeared today on Al Bab, the blog on the Middle East by the former Middle East correspondent of The Guardian, Brian Whitaker (author of “Unspeakable Love: Gay and Lesbian life in the Middle East”). To see the video, click on the link to Brian’s blog:
http://www.al-bab.com/blog/blog1003a.htm#saudi_jailed_and_flogged_for_gay_video

Saudi jailed and flogged for gay video:

A 27-year-old Saudi man from Jeddah has been sentenced to 1,000 lashes, a year in jail and a fine of 5,000 riyals ($1,330) after appearing in an amateur gay video (above).

The film, which lasts 2 minutes and 46 seconds, shows him dressed in a police uniform asking to inspect someone’s driving licence and then flirtatiously demanding “physical comfort” after saying the licence is expired. He later opens his shirt and rubs his chest, removes his cap flaunting his long hair and waves a gun suggestively. That’s as far as it goes.

Arab News says: “The video quickly spread online and through SMS… Attempts have been made to block the video from being viewed in Saudi Arabia.”

The man has not been officially named but he is named on the internet as Ahmad al-Faqih. He was arrested in January and reportedly tried in a closed court. He was charged with impersonating a police officer, committing a “general security” offence and being homosexual.

The man who filmed the video was also arrested but his fate has not been reported.

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Photograph: Reuters/Eldson Chagara

Support Amnesty’s Malawi campaign

Fax and post letters to the Malawi government

Call for release of Steven Monjeza & Tiwonge Chimbalanga

London, UK – 11 March 2010

OutRage! is backing Amnesty International’s appeal for letters of protest to the Malawian government over the arrest and trial of Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga. They face up to 14 years jail on charges of homosexuality. The verdict in their trial is expected on Monday 22 March.

See this sample letter, and the postal address and fax number of the Malawian President and Attorney General:
http://www.amnesty.org.uk/actions_details.asp?ActionID=682&LetterID=633

Amnesty International has adopted the two men as Prisoners of Conscience and is campaigning for their release.

“OutRage! is supporting Amnesty’s campaign. If enough people send letters of protest, it might help secure an acquittal or a less harsh sentence. Even if Tiwonge and Steven are convicted, they could win a successful appeal and be freed eventually,” said Peter Tatchell of OutRage!

“From their prison cells, both men have urged international pressure for their release. They need lots of support and solidarity in the run-up to the trial result. Please take time to support Amnesty’s letter-writing campaign,” he said.

Amnesty International UK Director, Kate Allen, added:

“Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga have committed no criminal offence and we adopted them as prisoners of conscience after their arrest at the end of December. It is vital that as many people as possible join us in writing to the Malawi authorities calling on them to release the two men and for them to investigate their treatment in custody.”

See this Amnesty International briefing on the case:
http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AFR36/001/2010/en/53def968-a426-46eb-8665-75879e119325/afr360012010en.ht

ENDS

www.petertatchell.net

Call for participants:

Legislating LGBTQ, a conference on Anti-Discrimination Law

http://www.iglyo.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=156&Itemid=42

To coincide with the Spanish EU Presidency, and in the context of the important discussions taking place around the proposed horizontal Anti-Discrimination Directive among EU Member States, we feel that this is a prime opportunity to meet in Spain for a conference focusing on Anti-Discrimination legislations. IGLYO aims with it to empower young LGBTQ activists to be part of high-level decision-making.

The Conference is organized in collaboration with Bolo-Bolo, the regional branch of FELGTB, the State Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Transsexuals and Bisexuals of Spain, and will be held in the Castle of San Servando, Toledo, from May 30th (Sunday) to June 4th 2010 (Friday).

Some of its main objectives are:

• Studying current anti-discrimination legislations and discuss their strengths and limitations in order to afford protection to LGBTQ young people, based on case studies ;
• Train activists to ’win the argument’ for anti-discrimination legislation at a local and national level;
• Explore methods of engaging with policy-making processes at a national and international level;
• Sharing best practices as well as creating a network of activists;
• Planning future actions and supervision of the implementation process.

Please if you are interested, read thoroughly the full call here.

You can find the online Application Form Click here!

Deadline for receiving applications 24th March 2010.
Candidates will be notified by the 1st April 2010.

UK Scouts condemn Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill

World scout movement acts on threat to gays, including scouts

Geneva scout HQ refers concerns to Scout Association of Uganda

London – 1 March 2010

The Chief Executive of the Scout Association UK, Derek Twine, has expressed opposition to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda, describing the legislation as “discriminatory” and “incompatible” with scouting values. The Bill has been tabled by David Bahati MP, who is also Chairman of the Scout Association of Uganda.

Mr Twine’s statement (copy in full below) follows representations to the UK and international scout movement by the London-based LGBT human rights organisation, OutRage!

Mr Twine wrote to Peter Tatchell of OutRage!, as follows:

“We find the Bill not only discriminatory and contrary to the sanctity of life, but also completely incompatible with our interpretation of the values of our worldwide Scouting Movement.”

“We have already drawn our grave concerns on this to the attention of the Secretary General of the World Organisation of the Scout Movement (WOSM), and we are subsequently aware that the issues are now subject both to WOSM’s direct engagement with the Chief Scout of Uganda (Mrs Maggie Kigozi) and to ongoing global consideration by members of the World Scout Committee,” wrote Mr Twine.

This statement from the UK Scout Association follows simultaneous direct representations by OutRage! to the World Organisation of the Scout Movement in Geneva.

“At our request, the world scout headquarters has written to the Chief Scout and the Chief Commissioner of the Uganda Scout Association concerning the Anti-Homosexuality Bill and the sponsorship of this Bill by the Chairman of the Uganda Scout Association, David Bahati MP,” reports Peter Tatchell of OutRage!

“This swift action followed our protests against Mr Bahati to the Scout Association UK.

“Scouting is very big in Uganda and Mr Bahati derives great prestige from his position as Chairman of the Scout Association of Uganda. If we can get him removed from office it will be a significant personal blow to him. He’ll be weakened and his credibility undermined.

“OutRage! is urging the disaffiliation of the Ugandan scout organisation from the world scouting movement, as a way of adding further pressure on the Ugandan government to drop the Bill.

“Our request for disaffiliation was immediately forwarded by the Scout Association UK to the World Organisation of the Scout Movement (WOSM) in Geneva.

“OutRage!’s actions are an attempt to open up a new front in the campaign against the Bill and to graphically expose the full ramifications of the proposed legislation on youth and civic organisations in Uganda, which have received little coverage so far.

“By highlighting the particular threat to LGBT scout members, we are not detracting in any way from the wider issues and consequences of Mr Bahati’s draconian legislation.

“LGBT scouts and scout leaders are, of course, only one section of the Ugandan LGBT community. All Ugandan LGBTs are at risk if this Bill becomes law. We are concerned about the danger to them all – and the threat to their straight families, friends, supporters and allies,” said Mr Tatchell.

OutRage!’s appeal to WOSM for international scout action is being handled by Jim Sharp, Executive Director, General Management, World Scout Bureau, 5 rue du Pré-Jérôme, CH-1205 Geneva, Switzerland.

Tel: (+41.22) 705 10 10 (switchboard)
Fax: (+41.22) 705 10 20

OutRage!’s appeal to the UK Scout Association is being addressed by Derek Twine, Chief Executive
Tel: 07889 130 812 (from within the UK) and +44 (0) 7889 130 812 (from overseas). Or 020 8433 7107 or 7261 (from within the UK)

Full statement by the Scout Association UK

UGANDA

Since the mid-1990s, The Scout Association has been clear and unequivocal in our equal opportunities policy and practice especially regarding sexual orientation, as befitting our role in contemporary society.

We are recently aware that the Ugandan Parliament has received a Bill that calls for the death sentence for repeat practicing of homosexuality. This Bill is presented by a Ugandan MP (David Bahati) who is also currently the National Chairman of the Uganda Scout Association. In terms of our own policies and understandings, we find the Bill not only discriminatory and contrary to the sanctity of life, but also completely incompatible with our interpretation of the values of our worldwide Scouting Movement.

We have already drawn our grave concerns on this to the attention of the Secretary General of the World Organisation of the Scout Movement (WOSM), and we are subsequently aware that the issues are now subject both to WOSM’s direct engagement with the Chief Scout of Uganda (Mrs Maggie Kigozi) and to ongoing global consideration by members of the World Scout Committee.

We hope that the bilateral and very positive educational and solidarity projects that have been fostered for many years between Scout Groups in the UK and Scout Groups in Uganda on such matters as health and community development will not be prejudiced or compromised by this situation; we await the formal and public response from the Scout Association of Uganda and from WOSM, whereupon we will review our position.

Derek Twine Chief Executive
07889 130 812 (from within the UK) and +44 (0) 7889 130 812 (from overseas). Or 020 8433 7107 or 7261 (from within the UK)

Peter Tatchell
peter@petertatchell.net

www.petertatchell.net

See also:

Homophobia in Russia: Eurovision Protest 2009

An opponent of the rights of LGBT people wants to close the gap between Russian and International laws.

Sent by Nicolas Alexeyev.

A Member of the Federation Council of Russia – the Upper-Chamber of the Parliament – Vasily Likhachev, known for his sharp rejection of the civil rights of sexual minorities, was appointed Deputy Minister of Justice.

As reported Gazeta.ru on February 27, the main point in his agenda will be to close the gap between the Russian and the International laws.

But when it comes to LGBT rights the new Deputy Minister of Justice is well known for a series of homophobic remarks.

Just two days before his appointment, Mr Likhachev publicly justified the denial by the Ministry of Justice to register ‘Marriage Equality Russia’, a gay group advocating for same-sex marriage:

“The steps taken by the representatives of the gay community, contradict with the general state of morality of the Russian society because it is not our culture and our form of relations”

In 2006, Mr Likhachev called to use any way to stop the process of family rights of same-sex couple “Already in 7 countries of the European Union, homosexuals are allowed to adopt children. The number of countries where same-sex marriages are permitted continues to grow, that’s why in questions concerning gays, there shouldn’t be maximum permissiveness otherwise, we will go too far and the development of the world will go in the wrong direction”

He further defended the ban of a gay pride in Moscow, arguing that “Minority affects the interests of the majority. City authorities are absolutely right that they did not follow the interest of sexual minorities. There could not be any other discussion here”

A similar position that Mr Likhachev repeated a year later in 2007: The society should not abide by the desires of sexual minorities because homosexuals touch the interest of the majority of the people of traditional orientation,

“The respect of human rights must not violate the moral and ethic. And if such a violation occurs, the authorities must apply the relevant laws to prevent it”

Commenting about the appointment of Mr Likhachev, Nikolai Baev, a co-organizer of Moscow Pride said:

“The new Deputy Minister of Justice does not consider the rights of homosexuals to depend on the constitution or the law of this country,

“Moral, ethic and the interest of the majority of the population is sufficient in his eyes to discriminate against us” said Nikolai Baev.

Gay activist further expressed concerns about the future of registering LGBT groups as non-profit organization in the country.

“The Ministry of Justice denied so far to register any NGO which would officially advocate for the rights of gays and lesbians, but, with the appointment of Mr Likhachev we doubt the trend will reverse”

“The only solution is to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights but this process takes years” ended Nikolai Baev.

GayRussia.Ru
http://www.gayrussia.ru/en/news/detail.php?ID=15226

Religious and Nationalist Groups call for the ban of St Petersburg Pride

Sent by Nicolas Alexeyev

Extracts of a letter addressed to the Governor of the City.

A group of Religious and Nationalist organizations sent a common letter to the Governor of St Petersburg, Valentina Matvienko, asking her to prohibit any gay pride march in the city.

The letter of which ‘rusk.ru’ received a copy says:

“We are categorically against holding any public events, which in any way present a propaganda of sexual perversions.

“Any parade is a demonstration – demonstration is a form of propaganda. As a result, a gay pride is a propaganda of homosexuality.

“Love between a man and a woman exists only for one purpose – to give birth to a new life but gay pride is the propaganda of death”

“But why does no one remember that holding these actions grossly violates the right of the majority and is doubtful from the point of moral action?

“After all, for the majority of our country and, in particular, for our city, homosexuality is an unacceptable deviation from the norm, a moral rejection and a disgust.

“We are constantly told that democracy is the government of majority, but it turns out that the interests of the majority would be sacrificed to a handful of people with unnatural sexual orientation”

The statement is signed by several nationalists and religious groups among them “Intellectuals of the Orthodox Church; Russian Imperial Movement; Movement “For Faith and Fatherland”, “People’s Cathedral”, “Imperial Russia Union”.

The first official gay pride in St Petersburg is scheduled on June 26.

GayRussia.Ru

http://www.gayrussia.ru/en/news/detail.php?ID=15227