Africa / Americas

Zimbabwe prisons, Pakistan arrests, Belize delay

Joseph Mudenda

Joseph Mudenda, speaker of Zimbabwe’s National Assembly

In Zimbabwe, National Assembly Speaker Jacob Mudenda told Parliament that homosexuality in prisons should no longer be ignored as it spreads HIV and TB. He said that Zimbabweans are “too shy” to talk about the high rate of homosexuality in the country’s prisons, which are overcrowded and a breeding ground for diseases like tuberculosis.  He called for prisons that allow prisoners to develop useful skills.

That news brief and most of the following news items in this recap were excerpted with slight modifications from two published round-ups of the world’s LGBTI-related news– the UNAIDS Equal Eyes and ILGA’s LGBulleTIn.

Focus on human rights

Last month the U.N. Human Rights Council narrowly voted in favor of a resolution to appoint an independent expert to monitor human rights violations against LGBTI people. Dr. Henning Melber analyzed the ‘heated debate’ that lead up to the vote, exposing the challenges still faced by advocates for LGBTI equality.

In Pakistan, a police officer who was reportedly involved in illegally detaining seven trans persons for about 10 hours on July 14 presented himself before an enquiry committee at the Human Rights Directorate of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, according to reports by The Express Tribune. The officer said he made the arrests under pressure from a religious political party. He did not give any legal justification for the arrests. At the police station, the detainees allegedly were sexually abused by officers.

Caleb Orozco, claimant and leader of United Belize Advocacy Movement

Caleb Orozco, leader of the United Belize Advocacy Movement

About a month and a half ago in Belize, LGBT rights activists Caleb Orozco, and the United Belize Action Movement (UNIBAM) challenged Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin about the Supreme Court’s three-year-plus delay in reaching a decision on Orozco’s challenge to Belize’s Sodomy Laws. A few days later, notice went out that the judgement would be handed down on July 27. That day came and went with any announcement. Benjamin reportedly was ill in mid-July. He has now scheduled the decision for August 10.

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