News briefs about countries with anti-gay laws or considering anti-gay legislation, excerpted with slight modifications from UNAIDS’s Equal Eyes recap of the world’s LGBTI-related news. (This is the first of three posts. The second one will report news from Iran, Morocco, ISIS, Kenya, Gambia and Uganda. The third will report news from Jamaica, Russia and Ukraine.)
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) issued a new report stating that LGBT people are victims of “pervasive, violent abuse, harassment and discrimination” in all regions of the world. In the report, High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad al-Hussein says that legal equality for LGBT people is overshadowed by “brutal” and “grotesque” homophobic and transphobic violence that often goes unreported and unpunished.
UNAIDS and partners hosted health and media experts to discuss using new media and technologies for HIV prevention among gay men and other men who have sex with men. And the WHO published a major new report “Sexual health, human rights and the law” with special attention to stigmatized groups that draws from a review of public health evidence and extensive research into human rights law.
The Constitutional Council of Kazakhstan rejected a gay propaganda bill that was modeled on Russia’s anti-gay bill. The decision comes after a group of prominent athletes including Olympic diving gold medalist Greg Louganis, tennis great Martina Navratilova, and Olympic snowboarder Belle Brockhoff signed an open letter calling on the International Olympic Committee to uphold its non-discrimination principles. Kazakhstan and China are the two remaining nations bidding to host the 2022 Winter Olympics.
In the United States, activists Cleve Jones and Jerame Davis focus on Malaysia and Brunei as they ask: Why are America’s out ambassadors arguing in favor of giving special ‘favored nation’ status to virulently anti-LGBT countries, including one that stones gays to death? In a commentary in The Advocate, they write:
“We’re told that the [Trans-Pacific Partnership] contains ‘enforceable human rights standards’ and that we needn’t worry about countries like Malaysia, where LGBT people can be jailed for 20 years or more, or Brunei, where the newly adopted penal code prescribes stoning LGBT people to death. We’re told TPP standards will be enforced. But no one has offered proof these standards actually exist. …
“Why are Malaysia and Brunei even being considered as signatories to the TPP if their laws aren’t currently up to standard? Substantive negotiations for TPP have been ongoing since 2010, yet Brunei enacted their “stone the gays” law just last year.”
In Sri Lanka, a political party leader of political party National Freedom Front called for the arrest of Minister of Foreign Affairs Mangala Samaraweera after he voted in favor of gay rights at the UN.
For more information, read the full edition of Equal Eyes.