LGBulleTIn #44 - The week in LGBTI news (April 15-21, 2016)

LGBulleTIn #44- The week in LGBTI news
April 15-21, 2016

Friday, April 15

Inter-American Court of Human Rights holds Colombia accountable for violating right to equality and non-discrimination

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights has ruled that Colombia violated the right to equality and non-discrimination of a gay man, who was denied a survivor pension after his partner had died.

This decision marks the very first time the court has ruled on issues related to same-sex couples.

In 2002, Ángel Alberto Duque had his request to receive his late partner's pension denied by a private fund. A judge in a lower court initially allowed the decision, arguing that the petitioner was in a same-sex relationship and that “no regulations recognised any right" to such couples. Five years ago, the case was brought to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, leading to the recent ruling.

“The Court confirmed,” a press release reads, “that no provision can diminish or limit a person’s rights on the basis of their sexual orientation.” It also ruled that the Colombian State start paying the man’s pension within three months and  provide compensation for non-pecuniary damages.


Friday, April 15

Case to decriminalize same-sex sexual intercourse filed in Kenya's High Court

An LGBTI human rights defender has filed a case in Kenya's High Court calling for the decriminalization of same-sex sexual intercourse in the country.

Eric Gitari, who heads the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, asked the court to strike out sections of the Penal Code criminalizing such sexual acts: “Those laws degrade the inherent dignity of affected individuals by outlawing their most private and intimate means of self-expression,” the petition is quoted by the Thomson Reuters Foundation as saying.

After filing the lawsuit, the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission published an update on its Facebook page announcing its offices would have closed for a week: “During this time,” the document reads, “we will be monitoring the security situation whilst helping to keep our team and our lawyers and the community from any unprecedented event.”

As ILGA’s State-sponsored Homophobia reports, “carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature” is punishable in Kenya with a maximum prison sentence of 14 years.


Sunday, April 17

United States: officials to investigate treatment of LGBT inmates in the prisons of Georgia

The U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney’s Office have opened up a joint investigation into the Georgia Department of Corrections’ treatment of LGBT prisoners. The DOJ confirmed to the Georgia Voice that this is the first time it has opened an investigation on the issue.

John Horn, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, said: “We’re looking at potential violations of the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act. All prisoners in Georgia institutions are entitled to serve their time safely, especially if physical harm or abuse occurs because of a prisoner’s sexual orientation or gender identity.”

The investigation comes in the wake of two cases which attracted national attention: those of Ashley Diamond and Ky Peterson. The former, a trans woman who previously was also a prisoner, had filed a federal lawsuit alleging she had been denied medical treatment and had been sexually assaulted by other inmates during the three years she served in male prisons; the latter, a trans man, had been denied hormone therapy until recently, and alleged he had been subjected to hostility from guards.


Tuesday, April 19

Israel: man convicted of murder for fatal attack at Jerusalem Pride Parade


A three-judge panel in Israel found a man both guilty of murder and six counts of attempted murder in connection with an attack he carried out during the 2015 Jerusalem Pride Parade.

Yishai Schlissel was released last year, after serving 10 years of a 12-year prison term in connection with the stabbing of three people during the same Pride march in 2005. Soon after that, he began distributing "pamphlets in which he called on 'all Jews faithful to God' to risk 'beatings and imprisonment' for the sake of preventing the parade, according to Haaretz. Then, on the day of the parade, he approached marchers, pulled a knife from his coat and stabbed his victims.

He wounded seven persons, including Shira Banki, 16, who died a few days later.

The judges who ruled in the case lambasted officials for not having done enough to protect those who were taking part in the parade: “It is clear that police were aware of the danger posed by the accused,” the Jerusalem Post reported the court as saying. “The unconscionable ease with which the accused managed to penetrate and reach the marchers  […] is inconceivable.”


Tuesday, April 19

Greece: 185 attacks against LGBTQI persons recorded throughout 2015

At least 185 cases of LGBTQI-targeted violence occurred in Greece in 2015, according to the annual report released by the Racist Violence Recording Network. Cases of shootings, rapes and verbal abuses were recorded as well as other incidents.

The report’s findings highlight how LGBTQI people risk being targeted more than once in a short period of time, one incident triggering the next, and also cast a light on the intersectionality of violence and discrimination facing members of the community.

“In four of these incidents,” the report reads, “the victims were foreigners who were targeted due to their sexual orientation and their national or ethnic origin; in two of these incidents, at least one of the victims was targeted also due to his disability, while in one incident the victim was targeted because of his sexual orientation and his religion.” Ten more episodes saw the victims being targeted as activists.

Cases seem to have increased during the discussion on the civil partnership draft law: an indication that “public figures should take into account that political and public discourse, as conveyed by the media, may incite to prejudice and put in danger the safety of people targeted.”

Read the annual report by the Racist Violence Recording Network


Wednesday, April 20

Victoria government to create new Pride Centre

The Victoria government will spend $15 million to create a new Pride Centre in next week’s 2016 state budget, BuzzFeed News reports.

The existence of the project was confirmed by State premier Daniel Andrews, who explained the centre will offer free LGBTI-sensitive health and support services for anyone with a Medicare card, showcase the community’s history and serve as a hub for LGBTI groups and organisations. The claim that this would have been Australia's first-ever Pride Centre, though, drew criticism from those who reminded that similar spaces had already existed in the country.

The state budget is also expected to lock in funding for the Safe Schools program, and to include $6.4 million for the expansion of health services for trans and gender diverse persons.

"We want to make sure LGBTI people are proud and that the rest of the Victorian community supports them in their demands and battles to make sure that they are treated fairly and equally," Equality minister Martin Foley told ABC News.

The pre-budget announcement comes ahead of the expected formal historic state apology to the LGBTI community in Parliament on May 24 this year for those convicted under unjust laws against same-sex sexual acts.


Is that all? More news bites


world_LGBTI news_ILGAThe US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released a report documenting the first case of Zika virus transmitted through anal sex between two male partners.

Organization for Refuge, Asylum & Migration has released a glossary of terminology to assist humanitarian professionals to communicate with people of diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions.

North America_LGBTI news_ILGADuring the same week that a man who had beaten a trans woman to death was sentenced to 12 years, one more trans woman was murdered in the United States.

In Canada, scholars are questioning the government’s plan to reinstate funding for the Court Challenges Program - which helps fund lawsuits against the federal government when it violates equality rights - and suggesting the program be expanded.

A federal appeals court ruled in favour of a trans male student who challenged his Virginia, United States high school’s restroom policy.

Asia_LGBTI news_ILGA41 migrants were reported arrested in the capital city of Kuwait for allegedly engaging in sex work at massage parlours.

A social media campaign urging gay men and lesbian women not to enter into marriages of convenience, encouraging them “to treasure themselves” and “live the lives they want”, was launched in China.

In a recent study among hijras and other trans women communities in India, "police officials and law enforcing authorities were reported to be the perpetrators of physical violence in most of the 17 states" where the research was conducted.

Latin America_Caribbean_LGBTI news_ILGAA human rights defender reported that at least 600 hate crimes against LGBTI persons were recorded in El Salvador since 1993: trans women were among the most targeted, especially by criminal gangs and security forces.

ILGALAC has expressed concern for the ongoing political situation in Brazil, stating that “a possible breakdown of democracy […] would have serious consequences for the LGBTI community” in the country.

Civil society organisations from Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador took part in a forum to discuss how officials can better respect the human rights of LGBTI people and grant them full access to state services.

Africa_LGBTI news_ILGAAn agreement to start the first LGBTI business network in the region has been struck in South Africa.

Uganda’s Speaker said the anti-homosexuality bill, overturned in 2014, "can still be deliberated on if the movers bring it back to the floor of parliament."

A young gay man was reported beaten and stabbed outside a bar in Thohoyandou, South Africa. When he went to the police to report the incident, he was briefly detained until the assault charges that his alleged attacker had filed against him were dismissed.

Oceania_LGBTI news_ILGAA trans woman shared her story of being a detainee in various male prisons in Australia, saying she was raped more than 2,000 times and denied hormones during her four-year sentence.

A national investigation into the mental health needs of young trans people is currently taking place in Australia: here is how you can get involved in the survey.

The Australia Football League has promised to immediately update its ticket entry requirements to live games after it was revealed they did not prohibit spectators from using homophobic or sexist language at games.

Europe_LGBTI news_ILGAIn Poland, footage recorded by a security camera shows a man breaking a window of the offices of Campaign Against Homophobia, in what is the second attack suffered by the organisation during the last month.

A few weeks ahead of the Assembly election, civil society organisations have joined forces to launch a campaign to secure equal marriage rights in Northern Ireland.

In the last of its annual progress reports on accession countries, the European Parliament called on Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Albania to enact further protection for the human rights of LGBTI people.


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