Bangladesh: Man Held Over Murders of LGBT Activists

BBC News | Reader Supported News | May 16, 2016

Police in Bangladesh have arrested a man over the killing last month of a gay rights activist and his friend.


he suspect was identified as Shariful Islam Shihab, a former member of the banned Islamic group Harkatul Jihad.

Xulhaz Mannan, the editor of Bangladesh’s first magazine for LGBT people, and fellow activist Mahbub Rabbi Tonoy were killed last month.

Bangladesh has seen a surge in violent attacks against gay activists and other minority groups in recent months.

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UN Security Council may arm Libyan unity gov’t to fight ISIS


RT America | May 16, 2016

Members of the UN Security Council say they’re ready to lift an arms embargo and supply the Libyan unity government with weapons to combat Islamic State terrorists. This decision is stated in an official communique of talks in Vienna, signed by all five permanent UN Security Council members ‒ the US, Russia, France, UK and China ‒ as well as the representatives from more than 15 other countries participating in the talks. RT’s Peter Oliver reports from Austria. Then, RT America’s Simone Del Rosario is joined by Daniel McAdams, executive director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, to talk about the legitimacy of the “unity” government and more.

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The gay Anzacs who refused to stay silent

Kathy Marks | BBC News | April 24, 2016

Stuart Martin looks back with pride on his six years as a nursing officer in the Royal Australian Air Force. But he also recalls having to “not be gay”. And one incident from that era sticks in his mind: a veterans’ leader physically blocking a group of gay ex-servicemen trying to lay a wreath during an Anzac Day service.

It was 1982, and the man obstructing them was the notoriously bellicose Bruce Ruxton, long-time president of Victoria’s Returned and Services League. On Monday, as Australians remember their war dead at Anzac Day ceremonies, Mr Martin – health permitting – will be among current and former military personnel placing a rainbow wreath at that same shrine in Melbourne.

The service and sacrifice of gay and transgender members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) will be similarly honoured at ceremonies in Sydney, Canberra, Adelaide, Brisbane and Townsville – thanks largely to Mr Martin, who decided last year that it was time to “address an injustice” and “acknowledge all those who have gone before us”.

That the ADF has given its blessing to this new Anzac Day tradition is testament to how much things have changed since Mr Martin’s day, when military police would “hang about gay nightclubs looking for people with very short haircuts and take pictures of them to compare with the military files,” he recalls.

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Parliament Seized: Protesters Storm Baghdad Green Zone

Shia protesters unfurled banners after storming the Iraqi Parliament building. (photo: Reuters)
Shia protesters unfurled banners after storming the Iraqi Parliament building. (photo: Reuters)


Reuters | Reader Supported News | April 30, 2016

Supporters of a prominent Shi’ite cleric are demanding government reform.

undreds of supporters of Shi’ite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr stormed into Baghdad’s Green Zone and entered parliament on Saturday after Sadr denounced politicians’ failure to reform a political quota system blamed for rampant corruption.

The protesters, who had gathered outside the heavily fortified district housing government buildings and many foreign embassies, crossed a bridge over the Tigris River chanting: “The cowards ran away!” in apparent reference to departing lawmakers.

There were no reports of clashes with security forces. But an army special forces unit was dispatched with armored vehicles to protect sensitive sites, two security officials said. No curfew has been imposed, they said.

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New Ugandan Report on LGBT Persecution

Melanie Nathan | Oblogdeeoblogda | April 22, 2016 

Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) has launched a report titled, “And That’s How I Survived Being Killed”: Testimonies of Human Rights Abuses from Uganda’s Sexual and Gender Minorities.

Slum in Kenya where urbanrefugees have been compelled to stay
Slum in Kenya – Ugandan urban LGBT refugees

The report is intended to document the many forms of persecution that LGBT identifying individuals in Uganda face. In this report, based on first-hand testimonies, Sexual Minorities Uganda documented from May 2014 until December 2015 the physical threats, violent attacks, torture, arrest, blackmail, non-physical threats, press intrusion, state prosecution, termination of employment, loss of physical property, harassment, eviction, mob justice, and family banishment that are all too often apart of the lived experience for sexual and gender minorities in Uganda.

This report has documented 264 verified cases of persecutions of LGBT individuals based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Of the 264 cases documented in this report 48 involved acts of violence, including 35 cases involving physical threats or violent attacks, and 13 instances of torture by the state. The largest proportion of documented cases involved intimidation, with 84 cases, while 73 involved loss of property (including loss of employment, physical property, and eviction), and 59 involved social exclusion (including discrimination when accessing healthcare, community discrimination, and family banishment) — all of which the Ugandan government has failed to investigate.

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Emma Thompson takes a stand against homophobia in Scottish schools

Albertus van Aswegen | Gay Star News | April 24, 2016

Academy Award-winning actress, Emma Thompson joins Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) to put an end to homophobia and bullying in Scottish schools.

According to Stonewall Scotland’s School Report, 14% of LGBTI youth and 42% of trans youth have left education because of homophobic and transphobic bullying.

The suicide and self-harm rates are also high for a country that is seen as one of the most LGBTI-friendly in Europe.

Thompson said: ‘The time for homophobia is long gone. It’s over. Any young person indulging in homophobic bullying is a teenage dinosaur who should just go and sit coughing over a sherry in an old white men’s club…it’s not cool, it’s not intelligent and it’s not attractive.’

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Ghana politician: “Africa must resist homosexuality”

Bobby Rae | PinkNews | March 21, 2016

A former senior politician from Ghana has said the country must resist homosexuality.

Mike Ocquaye, who was the deputy speaker in parliament, said that despite pressure from Western governments to adopt LGBT rights, Ghana must resist.

“We have got to stand our ground,” he said in an interview with the Exclusive Breakfast Show.

“We have got to make certain things clear as Africans, and we’ve got to make people, at least, respect us that as for Africans, we say a man is not going to put his sexual organ into a man’s back, and that is Africa for us.”

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Ugandan Hate Preacher Given Visa to Speak in the UK

Melanie Nathan | Oblogdeeblogda | March 21, 2016 

When Uganda passed its Anti-Homosexuality Act back in December 2013, several religious leaders pushed hard for the Ugandan President to assent to the Bill, which came to be known as The Kill the Gays Bill.  Two such religious leaders include a certain married  couple,  Dr. Joseph Serwadda and  Pastor Freda Serwadda,  from the Victory Christian Centre.  Now the couple will be preaching in the United Kingdom and LGBTI activists are  angry that they have not been banned from entering the United Kingdom.

As can be seen from the poster below, on March 26, at 6 pm until midnight, the Serwaddas will be participating at a rally in East London, at the Rugby Football Club, 71 Holland Road, London E15 3BP in the United Kingdom.

Here is a direct quote from a Ugandan newspaper, at a time when President Yoweri Museveni was wavering on signing the Anti-Gay Bill, because he realized that the Parliament did not have a quorum when passing the legislation:

“Mr Museveni’s views on a piece of legislation that has rattled Western donors were targeting comments made by the head of one of the Pentecostal Churches associations in Uganda, Pastor Joseph Serwadda, calling on the President to sign the Bill against Homosexuality. Pastor Sserwadda told Mr Museveni that he has the backing of the religious leaders and should, therefore, go ahead and assent to the Anti-Pornography Bill and the Anti-Homosexuality Bill as they were passed by Parliament.”

Ugandan LGBTI refugees and asylum seekers,  now living in exile in the United Kingdom, after suffering direct persecution as a result of the anti-gay rhetoric expounded by the likes of  Joseph Serwadda, are incensed that the preacher, who in essence had called for  death to gays,  will be allowed to enter the United Kingdom.

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How the truth about being intersex was hidden from me for years

Ela Xora | Gay Star News | March 20, 2016

Last week I started a series of protests outside the UK Parliament, including chaining ourselves to the railings, to highlight intersex rights.

We felt compelled to do this because we are governed by laws which lie to the general public and mask the existence and human rights of intersex people.

I only started to learn the truth about myself a decade ago when I was introduced to someone at a boat party on the Thames. They had been raised as a boy but had always felt like a girl and had recently been told by their doctors they had XXY chromosomes.

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Ugandan President Museveni Has Signed the Perilous Anti NGO Bill

Melanie Nathan | Oblogdeeoblogda | February 22, 2016  

Warning: Every organization operating in Uganda,  in association with organizations in Uganda, sending funds to Uganda, placing resources in the hands of Ugandans must re evaluate their positions considering the new NGO ACT of 2016 – or alternatively immediately support those who will challenge this law before publication and implementation.  The window of opportunity is very small.
By Melanie Nathan, February 20, 2016.

MuseveniLast year we reported that Uganda’s Parliament had passed the NGO Bill, a repressive piece of anti civil society (non-profit organization) legislation. We now have word that on January 30, of this year,  President in fact signed this into law, and now the onerous NGO Act of 2016, is open to publication and implementation, at great risk to all organizations that do not meet with the government’s approval.

The NGO Act of 2016 will now stand as yet another stain on Uganda’s history, providing further cause for concern, with severe hardship and consequences on a parallel with the anti-Homosexuality Act, which was signed into law by President Museveni in 2014 and later invalidated by the Ugandan courts.

According to local Ugandan human rights groups- ” this law is not good news for organizations working on matters concerning groups like LGBTI persons, sex workers and other marginalized groups.”   In fact upon analysis, this Act is so repressive, that almost any organization can easily run foul of its terms, thereby providing the Museveni dictatorial government, known for its oppression of democratic principles and human rights abuses, with power tools to exacerbate their grip over the country.  This anti NGO law could have the impact of limiting or shutting down the work of all organizations which support, advance and assist in all areas of human rights and even development.

Analysts at HRAPF note from the Act that: “Section 44 on special obligations and its imposition of obligations “not to do anything prejudicial to the security of Uganda and to the interests and dignity of Ugandans”  is so vague and ambiguous that it can be used as an excuse to close down any organization.”   That means the very organization that protect Ugandans from human rights abuses, assault on democracy, anti- gay milieus, and even lawyers who provide assistance through such organizations, can be summarily shut down.

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