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Documentary 'Golf Alpha Yankee' Exposes Extreme Anti-Gay Laws In Iran: WATCH

Golf alpha yankee

The documentary Golf Alpha Yankee exposes extremely harsh anti-gay laws in Iran.

Homosexuality in Iran is legally punishable with imprisonment, torture and execution.

Golf Alpha Yankee "provides an intimate immersion into the world of LGBT people from Iran, who were forced to flee their home country, and are now waiting in limbo in conservative Turkey as asylum seekers with the United Nations. They hope to receive resettlement in the west, where they may one day be free to love without penalty."

A Kickstarter campaign has been set up to fund the post-production costs of the documentary

Watch the trailer for Golf Alpha Yankee, AFTER THE JUMP...

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LGBTQ Families Dealt Major Blow at the United Nations

The United Nations Human Rights Council’s “Protection of the Family” resolution passed Thursday has the potential to become the groundwork for LGBT discrimination under international law. Uganda, Egypt, and Russia are among the countries responsible for the creation of the resolution, many of whom have explicitly anti-LGBT track records. This comes only a few weeks after the U.N. unanimously elected Uganda’s Foreign Minister Sam Kutsea, an ardent opponent of LGBT rights, as president for its 69th session.

Flag_of_the_United_Nations.svgThough the resolution does not limit its definition of a singular family to those consisting of one man and one woman, attempts at re-wording the language to be more inclusive have been blocked despite being supported by France, Ireland, and Chile. In not clearly articulating a recognition of different kinds of families, “Protection of the Family” carries the potential of being used to ignore families headed by same-sex couples, single parents, extended family members, or non-biological legal guardians.

The resolution is being held up as proof that there is global opposition to what is often perceived as a bullishly pro-LGBT rights agenda being led by the bulk of Europe and the United States.

“The defeat of various forms of the family demonstrates that the UN is weary of these kinds of debates,” Said Austin Ruse of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute. “Most of the member states would like to move on to issues that concern the whole world and not just elites in the [global] North.”

“It is a travesty for the UN to ignore reality,” said Julie de Rivero, director of advocacy for Human Rights Watch with the Human Rights Council. “Insinuating that different type of families don’t exist can do nothing but harm the children and adults around the world who live in those families.”

Read the resolution below:

Resolution on Protection of the Family by jlfeder


United Nations Calls on Gay World Cup Players to Come Out

United Nations Human Rights commissioner Navi Pillay said Monday that gay soccer players at the World Cup in Brazil should come out and declare their sexuality to help foster global LGBT visibility and equality.

Navi pillayReuters reports:

"I encourage players, sports people to declare their sexual orientation without fear," she told reporters in Geneva.

"That's the only way they will find the right to sexual orientation accepted. They are role models, it's important to send this message to their fans as well," Pillay said, adding that it was "a shame, in this day and age", that people "had to hide who they really are".

Pillay also warned that governments bidding for major sporting competitions need to give more thought to how their bid would affect human rights in their country. 

"They risk becoming hubs of human rights violations, including misuse of public funds, child labour, forced evictions, and demolition and the sexual exploitation of human beings including children in the surge of tourism," Pillay said, without naming any particular city.

The UN's concerns over the intersection of human rights and sporting events will likely continue into the foreseeable future as FIFA’s decision to select Qatar as host country for the 2022 World Cup has come under heavy criticism – at least in part due to the country’s laws making homosexuality illegal.

There are currently no openly gay players participating in this year’s World Cup, although a few former athletes such as Germany’s Thomas Hitzlsperger and our own Robbie Rogers played in the World Cup before coming out. 


Ugandan Foreign Minister Who Called Gays 'Disgusting' Elected President of UN General Assembly: VIDEO

Kutesa

Ugandan Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa was elected President of the UN General Assembly on Wednesday, the AP reports:

"I have never been found corrupt," Kutesa told reporters immediately after the election. "I'm not homophobic, and I believe that I'm (the right) person to lead this organization for the next session."

Two Democratic senators from New York criticized Kutesa's appointment, and more than 9,000 people signed an online petition urging U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.N. member states to block him from taking up the post. It cites his implication in corruption scandals at home and his alleged role in the enactment of the anti-gay law.

AFP adds:

The US-based Human Rights Campaign, which promotes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equal rights, has called his tenure "a black mark on the United Nations' commitment to protect the human rights of all individuals.

"It's deeply disturbing that a man who calls LGBT people 'disgusting' and played such a critical role in the promotion and passage of Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Act is assuming this post," the group said on its website.

The bill, signed by Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni in February, calls for "repeat homosexuals" to be jailed for life, outlaws the promotion of homosexuality and obliges citizens to denounce gay individuals to the authorities.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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North Korea State Media: Gay UN Official Is 'Disgusting Old Lecher'

Michael Kirby is the openly gay chairperson of the United Nations agency that just published a report which found harsh human rights violations in North Korea. Just two short months after the announcement of the investigation's findings, the country has issued a personal attack on Kirby.

_73038632_de27The criticism comes in the form of an outrageous homophobic editorial published by state-run Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) which not only blasts Kirby, but homosexuality in general.

According to The Washington Post, it reads in part:

As for Kirby who took the lead in cooking the "report", he is a disgusting old lecher with a 40-odd-year-long career of homosexuality. He is now over seventy, but he is still anxious to get married to his homosexual partner. This practice can never be found in the DPRK boasting of the sound mentality and good morals, and homosexuality has become a target of public criticism even in Western countries, too. In fact, it is ridiculous for such gay to sponsor dealing with others' human rights issue.

KCNA went on to describe Kirby and the other authors of the UN report as "dirty swindlers." Read the full North Korean editorial here.

The Washington Post notes the significance of North Korean state media's reference to homosexuality:

...the use of homophobic insults seems exceptional, even for North Korea: A quick search of KCNA appears to show that this is the first time the agency has used the word "homosexual" since the agency went online. Officially,  homosexuality doesn't exist in North Korea, and there appear to be no laws on the books banning it.  In the rare moments it is acknowledged, it is viewed negatively. In an article for NK News published last year, Oliver Hotham wrote that many North Koreans have little knowledge of homosexuality, and it is often viewed as a foreign concept.

Read the full UN report here.


LGBTI Rights and the UN: Where To From Here?

BY PAULA GERBER / GlobalPost

Analysis: If the United Nations builds on steps it has taken on LGBTI rights in the recent past, it may prove to be an antidote to the increased violence and persecution against LGBTI people around the world.

UnIn 2014, one can barely read the news without coming across a story concerning lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex (LGBTI) persons. Invariably these stories relate to violence, discrimination or other human rights violations inflicted on individuals because of their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.

Occasionally, a good news story creeps in, like the recent legalising of marriage for same-sex couples in the United Kingdom, France and New Zealand. But more often than not, the story is about gay bashing in Russia, draconian homophobic laws being enacted in various African countries, or the Indian Supreme Court re-criminalising consensual sexual conduct between men, after the Delhi High Court struck down the relevant provision of the criminal code four years ago.

With 81 states still criminalising homosexuality, the plight of LGBTI persons in many parts of the world is dire.

In light of an apparent increase in the intensity and frequency of LGBTI rights violations, it is appropriate to ask: What is the United Nations doing in response? And what more could it be doing?

There are three UN bodies that are particularly useful to consider, namely the Human Rights Committee, the Human Rights Council and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

MalawiHUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE

As the body responsible for monitoring state parties’ compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the Human Rights Committee has an important role to play in promoting and protecting the rights of LGBTI persons.

There are three ways in which it can do this, namely, in its Concluding Observations, in its General Comments and in its Views on individual communications. The degree to which it has succeeded in raising LGBTI rights through these different avenues is variable.

The Human Rights Committee’s approach to raising violations of the rights of LGBTI persons in its Concluding Observations has been patchy. Although it has improved in recent times, there have still been instances where the Human Rights Committee has failed to explicitly address the fact that a state continues to criminalise homosexuality in clear breach of the ICCPR.

In 2014, the Committee will review 18 states. Of those, Sierra Leone, Malawi, Sudan, Burundi and Sri Lanka still criminalise homosexuality.

Of course, many of the states where homosexual conduct is legal also have significant LGBTI rights violations, because, for example, there is no anti-discrimination legislation that protects sexual minorities.

One only has to look at recent events in Russia, where homosexuality was legalised in 1993, to know that decriminalisation is only the start of the journey towards dignity and equality for LGBTI persons, not the end.

Logo_unThe Human Rights Committee should therefore include recommendations not only about decriminalising homosexuality in its Concluding Observations for these 18 states, but also other reform measures necessary to ensure that LGBTI persons can be free and equal.

The Human Rights Committee has a woeful record when it comes to including LGBTI persons in its General Comments. To date the Committee has published 34 General Comments and not one of them has mentioned LGBTI rights. This is in stark contrast to other treaty committees, which have all made explicit reference to sexual minorities in at least one General Comment.

There may be signs that the Human Rights Committee is ready to catch up. General Comment 35 on Article 9 (liberty and security of person) is currently being drafted and does include a reference to sexual minorities. Let’s hope this language is retained in the final version.

The Human Rights Committee has considered five communications from LGBTI persons and in four of those cases found there had been breaches of the ICCPR. Most recently, it found that Russia’s gay ‘propaganda’ laws are inconsistent with the right to freedom of expression, read in conjunction with the right to freedom from discrimination (Fedotova v Russian Federation, 2012).

Thus, while the Human Rights Committee is making good progress with promoting and protecting the rights of LGBTI persons in its Concluding Observations and Views, there is definite room for improvement in its General Comments.

SogiHUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL

The Human Rights Council is also making a positive contribution to the UN’s efforts to promote and protect the rights of LGBTI persons, most particularly through its landmark resolution on sexual orientation and gender identity in 2011 (SOGI Resolution) and through comments and recommendations made during the Universal Periodic Review Process (UPR).

The SOGI Resolution was the first ever passed by a UN body on LGBTI rights. It is now imperative that the Council build on this success by adopting a follow up resolution further condemning the ongoing discrimination and violence against LGBTI persons, and establishing a mechanism or process to ensure that the Human Rights Council can identify and respond to violations of LGBTI rights in a systematic, coordinated and ongoing manner.

(image: vote on SOGI Resolution)

The continuing criminalisation of homosexuality has been raised with a number of states during the UPR and many have accepted recommendations that they repeal these laws, including Mauritius, Nauru and Seychelles. That LGBTI issues are being raised as part of the UPR is pleasing, particularly as 11 of the 47 current members of the Human Rights Council are states where homosexuality is still a crime (Algeria, Botswana, Kenya, Kuwait, Maldives, Morocco, Namibia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone and United Arab Emirates). It is hoped that in 2014, the HRC will consistently raise LGBTI issues within the UPR, whether it be about the criminalisation of homosexuality, the absence of anti-discrimination legislation or violence against sexual minorities.

OFFICE OF THE HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (OHCHR)

PillayThe Free & Equal campaign launched by OHCHR last year is a standout achievement, but by no means does it represent the extent of the Office’s work to promote LGBTI rights. High Commissioner Navi Pillay has been a vocal critic of recent moves to oppress LGBTI people in Africa even further. In relation to new draconian Nigerian anti-gay legislation, she said:

"Rarely have I seen a piece of legislation that in so few paragraphs directly violates so many basic, universal human rights. Rights to privacy and non-discrimination, rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly, rights to freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention: this law undermines all of them."

Another OHCHR achievement is the drafting of the first UN report documenting discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. This 2011 report was prepared pursuant to a request by the HRC in the SOGI Resolution.

Finally, in 2012, OHCHR published a very helpful booklet that sets out the core obligations that states have towards LGBTI persons, and describes how various UN mechanisms have applied international human rights law to LGBTI persons.

Fortunately, we can be confident that OHCHR will continue its work to increase respect for the rights of LGBTI persons, because the high commissioner has said as much in her annual report to the General Assembly.

If the Human Rights Committee, Human Rights Council and OHCHR build on some of the important steps they have taken on LGBTI rights in the recent past, it may prove to be an antidote to the increased levels of violence and persecution we are witnessing being inflicted on LGBTI people in many parts of the world.

Dr Paula Gerber is an Associate Professor at Monash University Law School and Deputy Director of the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law.


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